Monday, August 10, 2015

Believe in Miracles


I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”

Many people today talk about the lack of miracles in our world. They point to Bible accounts of healing, provision or protection and bemoan the fact that those things no longer happen. I heartily disagree. Miracles happen but far too often they are explained away as coincidence, science or fate. For anyone who needs to know that miracles are still very much a part of our Father's love for us I have a few examples.

Nearly thirty-five years ago I was given some tough news about my first born son. A well-respected neurologist told me repeatedly that he was brain damaged and only a miracle (that word spoken in a voice dripping with contempt) would change that. A bit later that same doctor had no explanation for the fact that on paper my child had brain damage but in reality it wasn't there. He was doing the things he would “never” be able to do and doing them much earlier than the average child. That doctor was not about to use the word miracle but he did go as far as to say that whatever happened was not medical. Hmmm..... okay doc, I'm going with my explanation, which is MIRACLE.

A dear friend of mine had three kidney transplants. He lived for many years at death's door. The final transplant was truly his last hope. Where there had been huge confidence in the first transplant, the last one was a long shot, his worst chance. It took! For the first time in years he was healthy. That was a miracle but of course it was easy for most people to give the credit to the doctors. Finally Jim was healthy. So healthy in fact that a young woman, driving too fast, decided to push the envelope for him and t-boned him. The doctors told his wife that he wouldn't survive. Three days later they said he might survive but surely he would have serious brain damage, maybe getting fifty percent back, if he was lucky. He was not lucky. He was blessed and today is as strong mentally and physically as he as ever been.

For the past week I have prayed and prayed and prayed for a beautiful little boy named Drew. His mama has been in my life since she was four years old and watching her watch her baby dying was as heartbreaking as life can get. I could not stop praying for them. Things took a positive turn but then stalled. It seemed that Drew was only coming halfway back to us. Until he was baaaack! Which he announced in the sweetest little voice. From bedridden and zombie like to full blown happy little boy in minutes. The joy on his face, the faces of his parents and siblings says one thing to me. MIRACLE!

Through all of those events, my son Paul, my friend Jim, precious Drew, throughout those major miracles are small miracles. A doctor is astounded at what he formerly perceived as impossible. A family remembers the God they'd dismissed. People come out of the woodwork to help, to pray. Kindness is shown where there is usually a void of any gracious behavior. Given all of that how do we doubt for a second that God is still the God of miraculous events?

Just in case you're thinking that all of these are medical and that maybe they could be explained by science, (They can't. Trust me.) Here's one more. Several years ago my husband's work was sporadic at best. Finances were awful. When our mortgage payment was dangerously overdue He called our mortgage people to see what we could do. The woman he spoke to was a little confused. She told him that not only were we not late but that we didn't owe a payment for the next two months. MIRACLE!

The next time someone tells you that miracles don't happen, stop for a minute and think about your own life. I bet if you look closely you'll see at least one. When you do, praise God. He is very much still in the miracle business.

Monday, August 3, 2015

In Good Standing

He has showed you O man, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly

with your God. Micah 6:8

Recently I was blessed to spend some time with an old friend. Although we have remained close over the years our actual face to face encounters have become a bit rare. I looked forward with great expectation to having those few hours with her. Once those hours began I wasn't so sure. My friend and I have very different lifestyles, that is glaringly obvious, but I've always thought we had the same worldview, the same spiritual perspective. We, as it turns out, do not.

For a time we were joined by another friend and the subject of church came up. In a few short sentences I realized that form far outweighs function for my friend, that she had relied on the church to give her children any spiritual perspective and that “faith” in her home was really just a prayer at the dinner table, if someone remembered. That was a shock.

Throughout the conversations I began to see that while my god is God, the Alpha Omega, the Almighty, her god, technically gods, are achievements, status, leisure and money. Now keep in mind, this isn't some awful person. This is a sweet, funny woman with a lot of wit and intelligence. She's fun, kind and okay, a little intimidating. As our talks continued I believe she also realized how different we've become over the years and out of kindness, decided to help me, to fix me if you will. That fixing was quite frankly, insulting.

I began to feel challenged and inferior. I recognized once again my square peg in a round whole existence in a place where I usually felt comfortable. Yes, we're different but to this point I thought we respected each others differences. After she left, I was thinking about what she said and starting to feel really low, but my precious Abba threw a little light on the subject, illuminating the error of my thinking.

This woman has always been great at delegating. Her house is cleaned by someone else, at work she assigns chores to others that perhaps should be hers and her children are truly being raised by a village. It was there that I saw the issue and praise God it wasn't mine.

My dear one believes in doctrine, in form over function. Although she would check the box marked “Christian” she has no real relationship with Christ. It was a Martha and Mary moment and this time I got to be Mary, choosing what is better. There are people who take advantage of my willingness to serve them, true. I'm not terribly (really not at all) concerned with the politics of life, with pecking order, true. As long as my bills are paid and my family is fed then I have enough, true. Those things aren't what drive me or get me up in the morning. It wasn't that she was making things up to fir her agenda. Everything she said was true. She wants me to be concerned about the world, about stuff and about living to please me. I'm not. What I am concerned with is pleasing my God before any other person, certainly before pleasing myself. It is my privilege to serve a mighty God and I should not question who or how He chooses for me to serve.

Do I still feel judged? Yes. Do I still feel that I didn't quite make the cut? Yes. Do I feel like a square peg in a round hole? Almost always. No problem, because through these conversations with this friend I also realized that the humility I so want to exhibit is growing in me. That I am determined to do justly, love mercy and walk with my God. I don't measure up much by worldly standards which when she pointed it out made me feel awful but now I can say, Praise God! The less I fit in this world, the better I'll stand with Him.