Have you ever waited for a miracle? I mean a real, God-supplied, supernatural, no-other-way kind of miracle? I feel like my life is a series of miracles. All of them waited for, prayed for, hoped for, dreamed about, begged-G0d-for…I have seen many.
The Bible is full of miracles. But if you look closely at every miracle within the pages of God’s Word you will find that miracles rarely come packaged neat and tidy or without side-effects. In fact, most of the Bible’s miracles have a story before and after that often get missed in the hype.
Take, for example, Eve. All of the creation story is one miracle after another. God took nothingness and make birds and fish, flowers and rain, gardens and rivers. He made stars and light and darkness and lightning. He created weather and oceans, horses and dragonflies. I mean, it’s mind-numbing. The creation story is millions of miracles multiplied. It’s staggering.
And then there was Adam. God created a likeness of Himself. A companion. A caretaker of creation. The highest form of created beings. A communicator. A lover. A soul-carrying tangible , immortal being. Amazing. But then…Eve. Miracle upon miracle to get to a woman. ( there ought to be some sort of pause here taken for the sheer humor of it all~ even in the Beginning, woman has made an entrance).
So Eve, a miracle. A created being. Helpmeet for man. A lover, soul-mate, complimentarian to the only dude. Oh God…what were you thinking?? Just kidding. It’s miraculous. She was created with a uterus and therefore, obviously she was designed to bare children. But his miracle was not finite or simple. And ultimately, Eve succumbed to selfishness, fell out of favour with her Creator, was banished from the Garden , bore children, one of whom would kill the other…..oh dear. Eve. A miracle….and a mess.
And then there’s Isaac. One of my favorite all-time miracles. Abraham and Sarah who waited till their 90s to see the fulfillment of God’s promise to them; a son. They got impatient along the way. Sarah set up the maid, Hagar , with Abraham and thereby Ishmael was born. Anyone read anything about the Middle East lately? The descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishmael have been duking it out for thousands of years. But Isaac. A miracle. How else do you explain a woman in her 90s who had never been pregnant before, giving birth? There is no explanation but God. But Isaac, Jacob, Joshua….the descendants of Abraham struggled. They struggled to claim their land. The Promised Land. The Holy Land. God set it aside for them. He could have wiped everyone else off the planet and handed it to them. But instead. They wandered the desert for 40 years trying to make a trip that should have taken 2 weeks. You gotta feel bad for them. I mean, how could they have been SO LOST??
David, a shepherd boy, killed Goliath with a rock. A giant that an entire army could not defeat. How? A miracle. And David spent much of the rest of his life running, hiding, killing, committing adultery, sulking, floundering, and yet still finding favour with the Most High God. A miracle. But a mess.
The widowed woman who helped to feed Elijah. She had nothing. There was drought. No rain. No food. No hope. And God, replenished her tiny bit of oil and tiny bit of flour each day. Just enough to feed her, her son and Elijah. For weeks. God could have provided chicken, cattle, a spring, gold coins. He can do stuff like that. But He provided….enough. Just enough. And she never got rich. She probably worried. She likely died poor and maybe even alone. A miracle. But a mess.
Why when we talk about miracles do we act like they’re going to come in like the Avengers, clean up the town and save the day?
Why do we assume that if God provides OUR miracle we’re going to be good to go, happy and carefree for the rest of our days? Where do we get this from? It’s certainly not Biblical. It seems to me , that God, more often than not, provides JUST what is needed for the moment. With not much fanfare or bonus material. Our reliance on Him is key. And if we don’t need faith because we have all we *need*, or maybe if we’re just too greedy , or irresponsible….well, God knows. And He provides healing, provision, shelter, children, companionship, friendship when He sees fit. In His way. In His timing. And maybe never. And that is the mess we must accept.
For a year, we have been trying to sell our house. I will not go into the boring details of what led us to be in this position. But suffice it to say , we’re WAY PAST needing a miracle. I just want to move forward. A miracle a year ago would have looked like having a bidding war and getting more than we were asking. 6 months ago, a miracle would have been getting $30,000 less than asking. A miracle 3 months ago looked like being moved before my son’s grad so that we could celebrate together, under one roof, without the stress of the unknown. A miracle 6 weeks ago looked like being able to afford a house in Regina at all. Well, none of those happened.
In fact, we came to a point of letting go of any and all expectations. And maybe, that was the miracle that we needed all along. You see, we’re consumers. We’re spoiled. We’re Westerners. We have come to see life through the lens of owning a house, living on a nice street, having nice things, going on vacations, wearing nice clothes and going to a nice church. We’re nice people and how we look is more important than who we are or WHOSE we are. And we have lost it all. In the course of this year, we have lost the ability to have and control where we live. Painful. Sad. Lonely. Horrible, really.
So what does a miracle look like then? A miracle is something that could not, would not , happen without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, God and Jesus intervening on our behalf. A miracle 6 months ago of our house selling and finding a new one wouldn’t be a miracle at all. It would be the market, doing what it does. It would be us pricing our house to sell and someone coming along and buying. Our miracle now, in financial ruin, in a dried up market, with no buyers and no ability to qualify for a new mortgage….well, the only miracle is the impossible. And that’s exactly what we got. There is no other way to describe it or explain it. We have a house. We are moving at the beginning of August and it is completely surreal because of the fact that it shouldn’t be happening at all. If I told you that we did not rob a bank and we did not sell a child, would you believe me? It’s true. And there is no rhyme or reason for it. Except God.
But that’s not the whole story. You see, selling our house did not factor into the buying of a new house. But selling is still necessary. And that’s the messy part. Getting under one roof and not having an extra mortgage payment is HUGE, but we still have bills to pay. And we still have the weighty burdens of caring for one house while we’re far from the other. There will be costs. There are stresses and worries that sometimes cloud the fact that we got a miracle!
I wonder if the widow, or David, or Abraham , or Eve ever thought about the miracle behind them and the mess before them? As wonderful as the miracles are, there’s more to the story. It doesn’t make me not want the miracles. But it makes me rely that much more on the Miracle Giver. If I didn’t have Jesus, it wouldn’t matter. We said from the beginning, whatever happened we only wanted God to get the Glory. I can’t explain to you why we are getting a house that is half a block from our kids’ school, that is owned by a Christian couple, that has all the rooms we need and no repairs needed. I can’t tell you how we qualified, except that God is the GREAT Qualifier of all things good. He sees, He hears, He knows, He responds. Sure, I’d love a clean slate, no outstanding debts, no bills to pay, no creditors on my tail. Sure, it would be nice if this would have happened a long, LONG time ago. Yes, I’m sad at what we’ve missed this year as a family. NO, I wouldn’t recommend this kind of separation to any married couple. But you know what? The miracle AND the mess that come with it are God’s way of teaching us reliance on Him. And regardless of what miracles we get, don’t get, wish for, never see….HE WILL AVENGE OUR TROUBLE. (it just might not be the way we think) After all…the Avengers have been known to make a mess. ;)
John 16:33 (Jesus said,) In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.