We Believe in Miracles

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Monday was my 24th wedding anniversary and my wife gave me a gift–a hand painted sign that reads “We Believe in Miracles.”

Her timing was impeccable. I’m facing some serious challenges regarding how to best invest my time and talent in work that matters, while also taking seriously supporting my family financially. I’ve been seeking direction from God and God seems silent on the matter. God has also used the last few years to reveal to me my shortcomings as a husband, father and human being in general. The mystics call these woodshed experiences “the dark night of the soul,” periods of spiritual distress.

St. Ignatius said the purpose of these times is three-fold:

1) To expose our superficiality, “Because we are listless, apathetic in our spiritual exercises; it is on account of our own faults that our spiritual comfort is withdrawn.”
2) To test our worth, “to show how far we are able to advance in His service and praise without that great reward of comforts and extraordinary favors.
3) “To give us clear understanding and insight, to enable us to have a deep inner conviction that of ourselves we are powerless to produce or sustain a flood of devout feelings, intense love, tears or other spiritual comfort, but that this is all a gratuitous gift of God our Lord.”

I think all three are at work in my life right now. I’m seeking a deeper walk with God, desiring God’s will, flailing about in the process, walking by faith and crying out like Job (though my circumstances nowehere near match his) “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

When I opened my wife’s gift, the “We Believe in Miracles” sign, I felt a burden lifted. I need miracles and I can’t deliver them. There is little I can do to change my circumstances or myself. I must rely on the only one who can, God. In a self-sufficient age it is tough to admit I am incapable of the challenges set before me. But I AM incapable of meeting these challenges.

Televangelists have cheapened our belief in miracles by using them as a manipulative tool, promising a good ROI for a sacrificial donation to their ministry. But Christmas reminds me of our pure and primary source for believing in miracles. The angel’s announcement to Mary, a virgin, that she would conceive and bear a child was rightly deemed impossible. Luke 1 tells the story of Mary’s response to the news.

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. FOR NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

I don’t know what miracle you need right now: a personal quality you’ve tried to change but can’t, a career or financial crisis, a life-threatening illness. I know that God does not promise to deliver every miracle in the way we would expect, but we also know such miracles will never be granted without our deep personal belief. Like a child we must simply start by seizing the phrase, “we believe in miracles” and asking for God’s help.

We ask and then like the Virgin Mary we say, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

May the mysterious, sovereign God of miracles lighten our load this Christmas Season and all the days of our lives.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in November 30, 2005 by | No Comments »

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