It took a miracle.

2018-11-25 Milky Wav Over Devils Tower

Last week () I concluded, “So go ahead and ask me to pray, but don’t expect any miracle.”  But there are some problems we face that will not be fixed without a miracle!  Where can we go with things that seem insurmountable: loved ones who refuse to trust Jesus, church leaders who do not care if they deafen their attendees, friends with progressive illnesses for which there is no human cure; international issues over which we have no say?

Based on John 6:35-69, Jesus may have not been such a wonderful teacher as some surmise.  Actually, He was the best teacher ever, but His discourse at this juncture did not win any trophies or marks for “Best Teacher of the Year” award.  Instead of motivating His disciples to deepen their understanding of what it meant to follow Him, many of them grumbled and argued and turned away.  It did not improve His case when He asked the Jewish followers, for whom cannibalism was anathema, to eat His flesh and drink His blood!

Then He asked the Twelve, His Apostles, “Do you want to go away as well?”  Peter, always quick to spout off, answered for the group: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”   So to whom else can we go?

But when we pray, do we expect a miracle?  When Ken prayed for Yolanda’s baby, wracked with meningitis, maybe some of us did, maybe some of us didn’t (see November 18, 2018).  But the baby was well by the next day.  When we prayed for my 45 year old sister-in-law to be healed from cancer, many shared a sense of faith that a miraculous healing was just waiting for us to see her.  Then she died two days after we arrived.

When Hannah prayed for a child, she prayed for years, enduring the scorn of her neighbors and her husband’s second wife (See 1 Samuel 1).  The high priest, Eli, not the most sensitive guy in the Old Testament, thought she was drunk as she was praying silently with tears.  (Be glad he is not your worship pastor!)  But Father spoke through this haphazard priest and he prophesied that her prayer would be answered with a resounding Yes from God.

How do we pray and not doubt as we are instructed in Matthew 21:21?  We must pray with the same faith Hannah had, trusting that God will answer in His time with either a Yes, a No, or a Wait, even if our hearts are breaking as we wait.

The faith we have to exercise is the same as Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, better known by their Babylonian monikers, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego.  Faced with certain doom from the king’s fiery furnace if they did not worship his statue, they answered his charges, If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)  Trust God without compromise.

So go ahead and ask me to pray.  I am not holy or specially good that He has to listen to me.  There is no magic connection or unusual power in my prayers.  But if you want me to share your burdens, ask me to pray.  I will just talk with The God Who Is Here, a constant Presence (See ) who keeps reminding me how inadequate and incompetent I am without Him.

And you can talk with Him, too.  Anyone can (Acts 17:27).  And you might experience a miracle.

John Peterson’s song has been on my mind a few days, but rather than offer one link to Youtube, here you will find four renditions, from acapella to reggae.  Enjoy whichever one touches your heart.

It Took A Miracle By John W. Peterson

My Father is omnipotent,
On that you can rely;
A God of might and miracles,
‘Tis written in the sky;

Chorus
It took a miracle to put the stars in place,
It took a miracle to hang the world in space,
But when He saved my soul,
Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!

Tho’ here His glory has been shown,
We will not fully see;
The wonders of His might and throne,
Until eternity!

The Bible tells us of His pow’r,
And wisdom all way through;
And ev’ry little bird and flow’r
Are testimonies, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprise; an intermezzo blog

IMG_2219I was composing Sunday’s blog on Prayer as a Mark of a Man (or Woman) of God, so this is an intermezzo blog this Wednesday. You see, life has a way of throwing surprises at us when we expect normal events. Anita’s comment afterward was, “Well, I’m glad I did not kill us this time.” 

As Anita and I drove to Iowa on Monday, January 12, I was working on the blog for this Sunday. While there were piles of snow all around us from the weekend storms that had blown through the Midwest, the big roadways were completely clear and dry. We have very good snow-removal teams, especially in areas like northern Illinois and Iowa, where they are accustomed to seeing lots of snow in winter. So Anita took the wheel and I opened my computer.

As we were driving the speed limit, 70 miles per hour (~110km/hr), the “cruise control” was set to maintain the constant speed. Along the way we had noted six different cars sitting at various angles off the side of the road or in the median strip of grass, now covered with snow. These were “leftovers” from the weekend, folks who had run off the road in the storm, and had not retrieved their cars yet.

We reached one of the many flat expanses in northern Illinois, where the wheat, barley and hay fields seem to go on forever. A sign along the road read, “High Wind Area” which meant the winds of the plains would sweep across the highway and could affect the stability of one’s driving. While we felt some light winds, nothing really strong buffeted our car.

But . . . ahead in the medial strip we saw a seventh car facing the “wrong way” with tracks in the snow showing he had skidded from our side of the road, and turned around in the snow as he slid off the roadway. Blowing snow had covered the inside lane on our side of the road. Though no longer blowing, there it was, light snow all over our lane! We were just passing a 65 mph semi-trailer and Anita over-cautiously pulled to the left to keep a wide distance away from him. I immediately saw the danger – she was going to miss the tracks that most traffic in our lane had made through the snow and put her left tire in the deeper snow next to the medial strip! By the time I could warn her to stay in the tracks, we were feeling the pull of the snow under the left tires dragging us into the median.

To avoid this, she turned sharply to the right and skidded in front of the semi-truck! The skilled professional driver had seen this coming and was substantially slowing in his clear lane. I grabbed the steering wheel and reversed her sharp right to approximately center to avoid flipping the car and said, “Don’t BRAKE!” afraid that she would panic and slam on the brake, which could also have flipped the car or put us in the way of the truck. But the cruise control was still set for 70, and we began “fish-tailing” on the snow and now slickened tires. I spoke out loud to the LORD, “Oh, God, please help us,” realizing there was no time to instruct Anita on how to pull out of the fishtail nor to turn off the cruise control.

This was not the scream of someone facing impending danger. This was just a simple request to someone who daily talks with me, and I with Him. I know Him, and I knew that when we were out of control, He could step in with universal controls. He can change water to wine, make the deaf hear and open blinded eyes, feed 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish; He can walk on water and command wind and waves to obey His voice. Needless to say, I was afraid, but not with terror of one who does not know what will happen; just the discomfort of one who does not know exactly what He, my Father, will do. But with full confidence that He owns my life, and that what Lane Martin said was true: “Nothing happens TO a Christ-follower; filtered by His love, it only happens FOR us.”

Count three seconds: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand.

IMG_2217In less than three seconds from when we first touched the snow, we were flying off the right side of the highway, the car was skiing into deep snow, and without speaking, my prayers were for no huge boulders to block us, or drop-offs that would roll the car. The snow enveloped us like angel dust, obscuring our view of the field ahead, and eventually blocking the right side doors. We sunk into the drift without a sound except for the car’s engine. I spoke first, “We’re okay, dear.”

We had arrived at this resting point without any loud bangs against rocks, and only the “swoosh” of the snow settling around us. The passenger side was completely blocked, as was the driver’s door, but the rear left door was openable with some push against the snow. Thanx to modern technology, a quick call to 911, and assurances that no one was injured, a state police officer was dispatched and arrived within 20 minutes, followed shortly by a tow truck who winched us out of the snow.

IMG_2227With no damage to the car, we could easily finish our drive, only delayed about 45 minutes! Any number of “natural” explanations could minimize our miracle. But when you think about the thousands of ways this story could have ended with us in the hospital or in Heaven, and the very narrow window of how a car zooming 70 mph could go off the highway, avoid a semi, and land with no damage to the car or occupants . . . we live in His grace, and His miraculous Hand takes care of us in every situation.

As to why this would happen? Maybe for the brief interchange I had between the officer or the tow truck driver; or the couple of people at the next truck stop where I shared our story; or so I could share this with you, that He works miracles for any who call on His name. Check out Hebrews 11 for heroes of faith, some who saw great miracles, but some suffered torture and even death. So we are thankful for our “miracle” rescue, but we trust Him no matter what would have been the outcome, and no matter what or when the next surprise comes at us.

Jesus at the wheel