I looked up from my computer into their wonder-filled eyes, saucer round and big.
“The light went off,” reported the six-year-old girl.
“All by itself,” her five-year-old brother chimed in–breathless.
They were over with their parents, who were downstairs participating in a Bible study. The two children had been playing quietly in the living room while I was beating against a wall of blogger’s block in the family room. Their choice of words and the frightened looks on their faces revealed they believed something more than a light bulb burning out had occurred. They followed me cautiously back into the living room.
I made a beeline through the dark living room for the offending lamp. It has a timer that turns it on and off. The recent time change had discombobulated it. I simply turned it back on. Relief and disappointment mingled on their faces. They were hoping for more. A miracle? Or at least a profound mystery.
So it is with us adults too. We encounter things we don’t quite understand–a coincidental happening, an answer to prayer, a remission the doctors can’t account for, a book or blog or friend delivering just the words of encouragement we needed, or something more. And in our hearts mingle fear and wonder as we step into the dark room of mystery.
We want an explanation and we don’t. We’re afraid understanding the mechanism of a miracle will unmake it. But miracles and mysteries are not made or unmade by our understanding them.
That God used doctors and medicine to heal me of my childhood seizures is no less miraculous than if they simply ceased one day through the administration of prayer. I am still healed. Natural and logical events manipulated by the hand of God are no less wonderful than those we would call supernatural.
Miracles that seem to have no natural source are not better than others. This is fallacy.
This may come from another fallacious belief: that understanding equals control. We may understand the miracle of the earth rotating around the sun and the sun providing warmth and life to us. But we will never control it. Understanding such things only gives us a better trail to their source. God!
In his best-selling novel, Peace Like a River, Leif Enger plays with the idea of miracles. Reuben, the narrator, is in need of one but is struggling to believe in them.
“My sister, Swede,” says Reuben, “who often sees to the nub, offered this: People fear miracles because they fear being changed–though ignoring them will change you also. Swede said another thing, too, and it rang in me like a bell: No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here’s what I saw. Here’s how it went. Make of it what you will.”
I like this. Miracles are to be witnessed, told, whether they are dissected or not. And most of all miracles are a change agent of God.
In the story of Jesus healing the man of a demon named Legion, Jesus tells the fearful and wonder-filled man, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Jesus does not tell him to explain it, understand it, or make more of it than it is. He is simply to tell about it.
Living spiritually has at its core a call to see life as miraculous. To see and tell what the Lord has done for you. From the eggs on your breakfast plate to the disappearance of a tumor.
Leif Enger using Reuben Land’s voice again: “We see a newborn moth unwrapping itself and announce, Look, children, a miracle! But let an irreversible wound be knit back to seamlessness? We won’t even see it, though we look at it every day.”
What miracle are you looking at today?