Amid broken relationships, marital difficulties, financial crises or simple question marks, is God still listening? Why doesn't He respond? Pray for healing... I need a miracle... terminal illness... deliverance from habits... a new job. Those requests and comments that have found their way to some of my blog posts vary, but they are alike in one way. They all represent needs. And most require miracles.
I tell these dear readers that I'm no counselor, only a writer and a Jesus Follower who loves to encourage others toward intimacy with God, but I will pray (I know I'm not a counselor because counselors will usually offer a succinct and helpful 3-step answer, not a 10-point offering like the teacher in me wants to). But I can and I do pray. Their names are on a growing list I take to Jesus often. He alone knows the intent and true need of the heart.
Some of us may have only seen one or two heart-stopping, mountain-moving miracles in our lifetimes—the ones that can only be explained by God. But we all want them, need them. Who doesn't crave intervention from Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals?
And God still does miracles. Do I believe in them? Absolutely. I've witnessed a few of them in my own life and in others. Like the angel told Mary, "Nothing is impossible with God." But I also trust His sovereignty. He alone determines who, when, where and what will honor Him the most.
But the more I listen, especially at Christmas, to prayer requests for the miraculous, the more I realize that because of our own human nature's craving for contentment, relief, and fairness, we may overlook or forget some of the most obvious miracles. I love C. S. Lewis's quote from God in the Dock: "Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."
Here are five such miracles we may tend to overlook in our search for more:
1. The Miracle of Life
Hearing a baby's first cry signals the inhaling of its first breath. That's a miracle. And waking up morning after morning, just able to breathe, to inhale the fragrance of life, is not a treasure to ignore.
But to know life in all of its spiritual fullness? To know and experience eternal life—life that begins the moment you say "Yes" to Jesus, and continues forever? Can you name a greater miracle than the transformation of a hardened heart to soft putty in the hands of God? A miracle available to every person, regardless of age!
2. The Miracle of Laughter
The music of children’s giggles, the power of laughter to hasten healing and even prevent disease: "A merry heart does good, like medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). A daily dose of laughter might even alter the doctor's prognosis and shrink medical bills. Studies have shown that this happy habit sends out needed endorphins, the body’s natural chemicals, and helps release stress. Scrooge has no place here.
3. The Miracle of Learning
God gave us amazing brains. Once you stop learning you start leaving. We don't know how long our minds will keep functioning well, or, as in the case of Alzheimer's, what exactly causes them to stop. So grab a teachable spirit now, while you can still learn something new every day. Make it a goal, and you'll experience a daily miracle: creating new brain paths and the sheer joy of learning. And while you're at it, learn wisdom. God's Word gives you clues about how to start that process flowing: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10) and "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).
4. The Miracle of Leaning
“Two are better than one,” says Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NIV). No one functions well as an island; we all need each other. Good friends are both healthy and healing to our spirits. And God often uses us to help others as conduits of His miracles: our gifts, our love, our time, and our prayers.
But the true miracle of leaning comes when we lean on Jesus. Praying about everything, depending upon Him in every situation—and leaving the results to Him—is the key to experiencing this overlooked miracle. True dependency on God both relaxes worry in you, and releases the power of God to act on your behalf—however He chooses to do so. The real test comes with your “Thank You, God,” no matter which way He answers. Leaning on Him ushers in a miracle in itself—one which God designed all along: leaning requires drawing closer to the One on whom you are leaning.
5. The Miracle of Love
At no time are we more aware of this true miracle than at Christmas. God sent His perfect Son into an imperfect, unloving world to give us life. Why? John 3:16, the "verse heard round the world," says it simply: LOVE. And not just so we could experience the miracle of taking a fresh breath every morning (miracle number one above). No, this miracle takes us back on that circle of love to the miracle of life eternal.
At Christmastime, God, the true Miracle-Giver, put on flesh and came to earth so you and I could know Him—intimately, miraculously—and be perfectly forgiven, perfectly loved, forever.
It’s both a gift, and the greatest miracle of all. Never overlook it. And never stop thanking God for it.
For more from Rebecca, please visit www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com
Publication date: December 18, 2014