The thing about miracles

by Kristin on September 12, 2013

in Belief, doubt & hope

Photo by Delta_Green

Here’s the thing I’m starting to get about miracles: It’s not that they don’t happen any more—it’s that we miss them.

In part, we miss miracles because they aren’t all big and thunderous and flashy, by any means. They aren’t even always particularly pretty. But that doesn’t mean they’re small and insignificant, or worth missing.

Mostly, we miss miracles for other reasons.

Often it’s because we don’t know enough. Maybe we don’t know enough about science or medicine or how things like the weather and time and dreams work. Sometimes we need someone who knows more than us to help us see the miracles—to point to them and say, “Trust me, that doesn’t usually happen.”

Other times we miss miracles because we know too much (or at least we think we do). We pride ourselves in being rational, reasonable, intelligent people who can explain away just about anything when we put our minds to it. So we might catch a glimpse of a miracle, and it makes us catch our breath, but then we devise an explanation for why it wasn’t really a miracle. We move on, without telling a soul about that glimpse.

And then, of course, we miss miracles because we don’t have enough faith to look for them, and see. Maybe we miss them because they appear in the midst of a string of dull, unremarkable, everyday days—days we’re half sleepwalking through, so far from expectant and alert. Not a thing about those days suggest we should expect something extraordinary.

Or they appear in the midst of crisis and pain—difficult days that have beaten us down to a flatness, pushing out all the air and leaving no room for the possibility of miracles. Part of that lack of faith is the result of anger. Why has God let this happen? Why hasn’t he protected us from this difficulty and pain? Why ask for miracles from a God who is powerful enough to have prevented the whole situation in the first place? When the situation leaves you feeling hopeless, it’s hard to look for miracles because it’s hard to believe God is at work. It’s much easier to feel abandoned and angry.

That’s where I’ve been this week.

But then yesterday, a friend who knows more about how certain things usually work helped me see a miracle. And I was too weary to keep rationalizing everything away, so I started to see another miracle from my day. It had already been there; now it was taking shape as something I could see.

And then I had a bit of faith—just a little bit, but enough to believe that God hadn’t abandoned us, that he is at work, providing.

This morning, as I walked to the cafe, a smile spread over my face as I caught myself praying like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof: “Lord, is that too much to ask?” In my mind I heard the Russian accent and everything, even though I’m hopeless at impersonations. I imagined me throwing my hands up and looking at the sky: “Is that too much to ask?”

And the God of miracles replied, “No, it isn’t. Nothing is too much to ask.”

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  • RonSimkins

    Great reminders. I experience all of the reasons you give for not seeing God at work, and I also find that friends often manage to be God’s agents for opening my eyes. You have played that role today with your musings. Much appreciated.