Friday, November 13, 2015

Do Miracles Still Happen?

CS Lewis said, "Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature."  Turning water into wine seems to break the laws of what's possible, or certainly the realities of what I've ever experienced at a wedding.  There were plenty of people in need when Jesus attended the wedding feast.  There were the least and the lame waiting for a miracle.  Yet, this is where He started, reshaping the natural laws He created, providing happiness and hope, the celebration and dancing echoing into the night.

I know of a young mother whose light had dimmed to a flame, flickering.  She swallowed the last of what she wished would snuff the flame dark, the life-pain numbed for good.  She was found before the flame extinguished.  She was miraculously offered another chance.  Her mother prayed hard. He seemingly answered.

My kids pray for anything -  mountains to move, storms to calm, the sick to be healed.  My prayers have either matured or regressed into carefully only asking for us to be aware of God's presence in the pain.  It's like I'm expecting the worse to be worst and asking God to simply not abandon His promise to not abandon us.  Do my prayers reflect a deeper theological understanding of why bad things happen?  Or, am I hedging my prayers to allow God an exit strategy, for Him not to deliver?  Perhaps my prayers should be more child-like, full of unbridled hope, expecting the supernatural power of the Spirit in every situation.  Jesus prayed for the most.  His closest friends confidently prayed the same.  Why do I pray for anything less?

I know of a young family who has experienced a roller-coaster of emotions as their to-be-born child was declared no more, but then he was still there, and life continued.  I prayed alongside them.  And when the news of new life arrived, I simply breathed relief.  Why hadn't I fallen on my face with praise for the miraculous?  Maybe I don't always believe it will truly end well, that a miracle might really occur absolute.  Author Brene Brown calls it foreboding joy - the abstinence of experiencing joy in anticipation of something bad that's sure to come. 

Christian leader Edwin Louse Cole said that expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.  Maybe I forebode miracles.  I find it in the trivial as I watch with angst when my favorite sports teams approach an important victory and all that I can envision is the impending heartbreaking last-second loss.  And I find it in the significant as I simply pray for contentment rather than asking God to use me in a "let's-go-ahead-and-part-that-sea" kind of way.  What if I asked and led and the sea didn't part?  Sometimes I settle and just ask to be content seaside watching the enemy approach, foreboding.

I know of a father estranged from his daughter who was in an accident.  He drove the long drive to her bedside, not knowing if he'd find her on this side of life when he arrived.  We prayed.  She lived.  I haven't asked him much about it since.  Tragedy thwarted, I gave God an affirming nod and slumbered back into the busyness of what matters less.

Pastor and author Andy Stanley cautions us to not miss the undeniable for the unexplainable.  These miracles, my everyday, are undeniable, beyond the explainable.  I should be running the rooftops of the city, shouting praise to a God I know for the miracles I've seen.  It's not that I fail to see, it's that I fail to name them and give praise to the One who lavishes us with countless miracles each day.  Too often, I take God for granted.  I want to live in expectancy, soaking in the wind of miracles blowing across the landscape of my life, constant and God-breathed.  It's true that miracles do not break the laws of nature, they are inherent in our nature, intertwined living, moving, and being.  

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