[ I had every intention this afternoon of writing down my thoughts on strong women (Capitalizing on the quintessential WOMAN of God vs. the broken stereotypes that seem out of place… and where the heck people like Judge and Prophetess Deborah even fit into the modern church equation); I’ll get there eventually. ]
But God redirected my gaze today. Something truly miraculous happened, and as all miracles do, I had to stop and stare in awe and excitement. And just like a little kid at the zoo going, “Oh, look Mommy, LOOK!” It’s like God to do the incredible–that only He can do–and then turn our heads, “See? Take notice.”
All for His glory and His fame!
Several years ago, we did life with a couple we graduated college from. B.C. (Before Children), we would hang out on Friday nights at each other’s houses, grilling chicken, and playing Kemps and Nerts and Risk and discuss theology and politics (Yeah, we were wild like that). When they moved away, we lost touch, and as life does, years slipped away from us… and we all had kids and new jobs and such. A couple weeks ago, the husband reached out to mine and found our numbers and we reconnected. I wish it had been under better circumstances, but they wanted to let us know that the wife, my friend, had been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. The prognosis wasn’t pretty and she was undergoing 12 weeks of chemo. My heart shattered for them. [Incidentally, have I mentioned how much I loathe cancer?].
This weekend, I got to talk to my friend and her honest approach to her situation (“I don’t know if God will heal me or not, but I see His hand,”), her joy (laughter and perspective in the midst of changing diapers and homeschooling) and her faith (God is good no. matter. what.–He owes us nothing) boosted my own trust. What a beautiful balance of facing reality and living with joyful faith. I hung up feeling inspired and motivated.
Today, I got the most incredible text from her. She had a scan and nothing (that’s right, NOthing) showed up. No more large tumor. They kept looking. More in-depth scanning. No more lymph node issues. Guys, this doesn’t happen. This isn’t normal with her situation (no, not even after 12 weeks of chemo). The tech mentioned something and my friend said, “It’s ALL God. He’s the one who did this.” They were all in the room, crying, hugging, in awe of what just doesn’t happen.
And my spirit dances and sings, “Halleluiah, God, yes!”
Not everyone gets their miracle this side of Heaven. My dad didn’t. My friends Dinah, Bekah, Carolyn, Jenica, and Ashley said goodbye to parents much too soon. My mentor had to bury her precious preschool-aged grandchild. I don’t know why God says “yes” and sometimes “no.” I don’t know why everyone’s story looks differently.
I do know He is always at work in and around our lives. But we have to pay attention. We can’t get too distracted and enthralled with the temporary and insignificant things that we lose vision.
Miraculous events happen. Every day. But are we looking? In order to see, we have to first observe the pain and the problems. We have to be willing to walk through the dark valley with someone. We have to be willing to say, “Share your story. What’s going on? What do you hope God will do through this?”
When we are aware of the struggle, we can see the final victory. If we don’t fess up to what’s really going on in our lives will we thank God for what He does to revive and repair? When we see it all, we can cry and laugh and point to our Father and say, “Yes, YOU did this!”
We also need to be praying. Those He talks to are those who are invited into the Story. I’m reading through God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, and David Wilkerson’s The Cross and the Switchblade, and a common theme for faithful revolution in both their lives involved their willingness to listen to God…and then obey (even if it didn’t make sense to them).
Prayer is more than just handing God a list at the beginning of the day, “Here, can you take care of this for me?” and going on our way. Prayer is about an intimate trust and dependance that humbly acknowledges, “I can’t do any of this without You; You are doing something big. Would you show me my role in that and give me the strength to just take the next step?”
Throughout David Wilkerson’s life, God shows up in stunning ways, doing God things that have no other explanation. At one point, when he is doubting whether the transformation is real, his wife Gwen challenges him and his thinking, “You asked the Holy Spirit for a miracle, and now that you’ve got one, you’re trying to argue it away. People who don’t believe in miracles shouldn’t pray for them” (The Cross and the Switchblade).
So, don’t try to explain God-sized work with human-sized terms. In other words, what only God can do shouldn’t be confined to what only man can do.
God is at work all around us. He doesn’t need our help, our involvement, or even our acknowledgement to enact His will. But He invites us to participate. Wow, what a powerful connection we get to have when we pay attention, listen, obey and glorify Him.