Do you believe in miracles?
Site update: Speaking of miracles, I got Apache and Greymatter working right on my ancient Pentium-120. I haven’t registered yet with any of the dynamic Web address providers, so right now I’m at the mercy of the DHCP server. At the moment, you can get to my experimental site at http://126.96.36.199. I tried to make it look a lot like this site. I have successfully connected to it from the outside world (finally).
I’m still playing around with it a lot, but I like the results I’m getting so far.
Miracles. Fair warning: strong religious content ahead. If you already know you don’t want to read something like that, click over to Discussions and read some of that stuff. We’ve been talking about Weblogging software and who knows what else over there. I’ve got smart readers. Their contributions are worth a looksee.
I do still believe in miracles. I want to tell a story here about a minor miracle, but it has no impact without knowing the parties involved. And I’m not going to embarrass them by trying to tell it. I’ll get too many details wrong.
So instead, I’ll repeat something I said in Bible study last night. Yeah, last night. I get together with a bunch of other twentysomethings two Fridays a night for Bible study. Most people assume people my age have no interest in that sort of thing. Remember, the root word of “assume” is “ass.” Those who assume we never had any interest never asked. Yes, we’re the ones who typically wander into the 10:45 service on Sunday morning at 10:50 or 10:55. Frequently we burned out on church when we were younger, and we run so hard all week due to work and other growing responsibilities that Sunday is the only day we can sleep in a little. And it’s hard for us to get our acts together. Plus, the churches worth going to are frequently in neighborhoods we can’t afford to live in yet. So we have to drive a few miles to get there. All these factors combine to make it hard for us to make it on time. But we’ll gladly give God an evening, even if that’s a Friday evening.
Hey, that’s another miracle, isn’t it? Or maybe it’s just plain weird. I don’t care. I like weird. Remember, I listen to the Velvet Underground and The Pixies and The Cure and Joy Division.
Back to what I said. We were praying last night too. Yes, we’re the same people who grew up fidgeting a lot during prayer. Those of us who don’t pray much generally don’t for a couple of reasons. One, in most cases no one ever taught us how. And for another, we frequently haven’t seen enough results of prayer yet to have enough confidence. We’ll do things when we know it works. The subsection of Generation X that comprises our group has seen some results, so we pray. So as we were taking requests last night, I mentioned Kaycee. I’ve never met Kaycee and probably never will. I called her “a friend of a friend,” which I believe is accurate. I talked about the remarkable aspects of her story. I was totally wrong on her age–I said mid-twenties, because her writings display a maturity and a quality that’s rare even in a 29-year-old. She’s 19, which makes her all the more remarkable. She’s been dead twice. Only briefly, but yes, clinically dead, twice, from medical accidents. And she beat cancer, coming back from outlooks that for a while looked very grim indeed. Now she’s dying of liver failure.
At that point, I paused, and then I said something that I’ve halfway thought but never said and I’ve never heard anyone else say. God gave her three major miracles. Well, major in that she got to live longer than it looked. A miracle by definition can’t be explained by science, and I don’t know if her comebacks can be explained by science. I’m not close enough to the situation to be able to talk to the people who’d really know. But to me, three long shots happening to one person is a good indication of Someone Upstairs keeping an eye out for her.
So then I asked the big question. Why doesn’t it seem like anyone is praying for a miracle for her now? God did it three times. To bring her back from certain death again is nothing to God. It requires less effort from Him than picking up a piece of paper laying on the floor takes from us.
And the great guy who was leading the study last night along with his wife said, “Yeah. We don’t ask for miracles enough, even though we know they can happen.”
We asked God’s will, of course. Life, no matter how great, is nothing compared to heaven, so when God calls someone home, it’s cause for celebration for them. When a believer dies, the true victims are those who are left behind, not the believer who’s died. But sometimes God’s not finished yet.
When you love someone, you’ll do things for that person without them asking. Parents generally don’t wait until their kids ask for something to eat before they start fixing dinner. Loving parents give their kids healthy food for dinner instead of ice cream, because they know it’s better for them, even though vegetables sometimes don’t seem like something a loving parent would inflict on anyone.
But think about it. Don’t you like to be asked, sometimes? Don’t you like it when your son or daughter asks you to read a story? Or when your significant other asks a small favor? I’m not talking about nagging or manipulative asking. I’m talking about asking in a sincere, loving fashion. Isn’t that one of the coolest things you’ve ever felt?
I think it’s that way for God. God doesn’t like it when people try to manipulate Him, of course. But when someone asks for something sincerely and lovingly, I think He derives pleasure from that. He still doesn’t always say yes (just like you’re not going to hand your car keys over to your six-year-old, no matter how sincere and loving the request), but frequently He does.
Frequently enough that yes, I believe in miracles.