We love to hear stories of unexplained physical healing which we know can only be the hand of God!
We love to hear accounts of relationships restored and brokenness healed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We love to hear first-hand narratives of those who have waited long for someone – a child to conceive or adopt or the person to marry – and God orchestrating that in timing and ways we could never design so well.
We love to hear tales of an impending disaster that was averted or rescues for which there is no other explanation other than God intervening.
And, because God is at work, they happen all around us.
We rightly shout, “To God be the glory; He is the Author of that miracle!” Indeed, He is and He has been doing so across time! Those are the miracles in which we most often rejoice, and for which we are quick to sing His praise!
And there are the every day miracles in His created world: a baby formed in the womb, growing to take his or her first breath; the sunshine that warms our days and the moon that reflects that sun; the stars the twinkle and the rain that falls; the ocean breezes and the mountain snows; the air we breathe and beauty of His creation across the continents.
But sometimes (and maybe, more often than not), we miss the miracles we don’t call miracles at all. We fail to see or we make light of the inexplicable work He is doing in hearts when the physical healing doesn’t come, when the relationship is not restored, when the disaster is not averted; when faith replaces fear, and hope overshadows discouragement.
Over the short term and the long months and years, much can and does happen in the lives of those we love. In our own circle, there have been some miraculous answers to prayer – yes, unexplained other than by the gracious hand of God whose will it has been to have His glory expressed through physical healing, children being added to our homes by birth and adoption, relationships restored, and lives redeemed by the living God through Christ! And we have given God praise and honor for all these things!
But, there are also other circumstances in which God is saying, “I am here, I see, I am at work…but wait!”
The journey is just beginning, and what He will do is not yet known. We believe Him for it, and we hope for it; but He is saying, “Wait for it!”
The journey has been long, and the battles wearying. We set our hope on Him, we watch, and we pray; but He is saying, “Wait for it!”
Perhaps the miracle is in learning to wait, learning to trust when we cannot see, learning to cry out through tears, “I can’t do this, Lord; carry me and make me able!” Even if we never get the answer for which we long.
And I have been reminded recently that sometimes, when those answers don’t come quickly, God hears our cries and allows us to ask “Why?” and “How long?” just as the Psalmist prayed in Psalm 13, not as a ill-tempered child, but as a weary warrior who truly wants to trust and who comes to our good, good Father with a sincere heart that says, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Or, “Even if you don’t answer as I want, again with the Psalmist I will say, ‘But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD…You are my God…Save me in Your lovingkindness.’” (Psalm 31)
I think of my sister’s dear friend and worship leader, Laura Story – her own hard but trust-instilling questions throughout her song, “What if Your blessings come through raindrops; what if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near? What if trials of this life are Your blessings in disguise?”
What if our trials, our hard places, our broken bodies and wounded hearts are opportunities for miracles in disguise? The miracle of God leading to a place of rest; the miracle of God working in us and through us, moment by moment, transforming our responses in spite of us and giving us strength not just for the long road ahead but for the next step, the next minute.
“His grace is sufficient” is not a platitude! It is a very real promise of God for those who are His redeemed children in Christ Jesus, for those who set their eyes on Him and stare at the Savior more than at their circumstances. “His power IS made perfect in weakness!” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It is the sure hope of those who have said, “Not my will but yours, Lord,” who have not just acknowledged that He exists, but who have laid their very lives and pursuits at the cross and said, “I am Yours; deal with me according to your lovingkindness and teach me, use me, change me…”
I have seen and am seeing THOSE miracles!
One I love dearly has a body that has been broken by illness for many years, but her joy and her hope in Christ is palpable! He is doing miracles through her; He is changing and strengthening lives through her in spite of our pleas for Him to heal.
Does she long for wholeness? Of course, but does she hope in the Lord? She does!
Does she make it clear that her joy is because of Him, that her hope is not in the here and now but in eternity? She does.
Is her desire for God to be glorified, for believers to be strengthened, and unbelievers to come to a saving relationship with God through Jesus? It is!
We spoke of that just last week!
That is a miracle! That is God renewing her strength and her hope and her joy day by day regardless of what that day may hold; the miracle is Him giving it in the first place and “continuing the good work He began in her…carrying it to completion”* when I know she doesn’t “feel” like it at times!
Another I love deeply longs to add to their family, and we have prayed without ceasing. But, at this time, God has said, “Wait for it!” And, in that waiting and longing, they rejoice and trust the One who has called them to Himself and has shown Himself faithful. That is a miracle!
Watching and waiting with expectation and trusting when the longing is so great!
Others I love are facing medical issues – some that are likely to have an answer that will be just what we desire and others not – but the wait on doctors and diagnosis and treatments is a reality.
Could the miracle be in God giving each of them (and those of us who wait alongside them) the ability to persevere, pray with expectation, and respond in faith regardless of the answers?
Could the miracle be the growing to hunger more for the Lord and His return than what happens in our earthly bodies?
Could the miracle be in desiring more of our Savior as we watch and wait and long for His presence in the here and now?
I admit – I don’t wait well. I desire quick answers for them as I do when I am in these circumstances. But, it is often true, that God teaches and grows me so much more when He makes me wait…because my eyes can then be nowhere else but on my Savior rather than on me trying to “fix a problem or find a solution.”
I’ve seen God work in my own heart, as I weep deeply for people and situations in my life and theirs, but He is constantly reminding me that weeping does not have to give way to worry. We can walk with the Comforter even if our steps are slow and plodding.
He is teaching me to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) when my thoughts want to run ahead of my Savior and as the lie of fear wants to overtake my heart and mind. He is reminding me over again that I can and must pray “in expectation” (Psalm 5) because He hears, He is faithful, and His ways are not my ways – they are good even when they don’t “feel” good!
I’ve watched bitter hearts soften to forgive even when a deep hurt is not acknowledged or a broken relationship isn’t restored. And I’ve seen the sweetness of a heart resting in Jesus, despite it.
Could the miracle be in resting even while we wrestle with our unmet desires and expectations?
Could the miracle be looking back and recognizing what God has done in us over the years as we have learned to pray more intentionally and to watch and wait, not perfectly, but more faithfully?
Could the miracle be that we have learned to forgive, in spite of deep wounds, and as we have humbly become more transparent and more ready to allow Him to chip away at our own self-wills so we could see Him doing a work of grace, first in us, as only He could do?
Could the miracle be that we have seen Him take what looked like a terrible situation that seemed to be unredeemable and work in us and in others, rescuing and restoring what was lost or damaged or making us still faithful if not?
Could the miracle be in experiencing peace where there is no peace, hope when circumstances don’t warrant it?
Could the miracle be in Him working in us so that we can, “Be still and know that He is God!” (Psalm 46:10)
Those are actions of the Holy in Spirit as He teaches and equips His children to say, “Do in your servant what you will…to You be the glory!” One step at a time.
We want physical and emotional healing; He wants redeemed souls!
“…which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?” Matthew 9:5
We want restored relationships with one another; He wants those but, even more, He wants us to have a relationship with Him.
“…our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession…” (Titus 2:14)
We want trouble-free lives; He wants us to lean on, trust, and see Him.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We want quick solutions; He wants to train us to persevere in the long haul to grow us and teach us to hope in Him (though growing is oft times painful).
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)
Maybe our response – our real pain that is marked by real tears and frustration but that is woven into, even overshadowed, by our real faith in God Himself – is what brings God glory, is what will make people seek Him and see Him!
We can answer, “I don’t know why, and it hurts! Yet will I trust Him! Yet will I put my hope in Him!”
The miracle of God in our deepest fears, our greatest trials, our scariest diagnosis, our most broken of relationships, everything that is evidence of a world tainted by sin but that is not the final reality…is that we have hope in the God who spoke this world into existence and in the Son who is coming to reign again.
The miracle is that we can weep for a moment, but that joy comes in the morning. We can long for the coming day when this world, that is but a shadow of what is to come, is in the past and the wholeness, which we who are redeemed through and submitted to Christ anticipate, is realized in that day!
The miracle is that God carries us when we can’t fathom another step, that His Spirit comforts us when our tears flow hot and heavy, and that He emboldens us to stand on His true, unchanging Word in the face of an enemy who wants to defeat us with fear.
The miracle defined is that He became Emmanuel, God with us, to redeem us from ourselves and make us His own.
We can know Him. We can love Him. We can anticipate with certainty an eternity with Him. We can rest in our Living Hope.
Don’t miss the miracles!
Don’t miss the greatest miracle!
“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-8)
“From where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2