“There don’t seem to be as many miracles as there used to be,”
That got my attention. The speaker was a lady in line at the post office several weeks ago. I didn’t hear what the context was because the only part of the conversation I heard was the last part. I wondered to myself if there are less miracles these days.
It’s not that amazing things don’t happen anymore. Amazing, wonderful things happen each day. The problem is that if we can explain why something happened it automatically loses its miracle status. We’ve become too educated and entitled to recognized the miraculous nature of everyday miracles.
In our society today, if we can explain it then it can’t be a miracle. That seems a little narrow minded to me. Many years ago, I got in a serious jam. I was 100 miles from home, a gas station wouldn’t take my credit card (this was a long time ago) and my car’s tank was empty. I had no cash. I was out of options. I was looking in my glove compartment for a pen and found a birthday card from my grandmother. It had $20 in it. It was a miracle. I knew exactly how the card got in my glove compartment. I put it in there when I got it. The money was wrapped in paper and placed in the envelope next to the card. I didn’t see the money when I opened it and read the card. Knowing how it got there didn’t make it any less miraculous when I found it.
Reproduction is a prime example of how we have taken the miraculous out of our lives. I am not a doctor, but thanks to the film in 6th grade, personal experience, a college biology class, an adult film I once saw at a bachelor party and being a father myself, I am intimately familiar with every step of the conception and birth process from “Do you come here often?” to “It’s your turn to change the baby.” Thanks to modern technology can watch a sperm penetrate an egg. Does that make it any less of a miracle?
Even people who understand how a child is a miracle sometimes only apply “miracle status” to children in specific situations. An aquaintance, who knew we had two adopted children, once asked me if we had any regrets about not experiencing the miracle associated with pregnancy and childbirth. I had to think about that. I have a biological son, so I have experienced that miracle. With Charlie and Eli the miracle of childbirth was multiplied by the miracle of them finding their way to us. The boys represent lots of miracles.
I think our society is less naive than we were 75 years ago. My grandparents used to talk about the “miracles of modern medicine”. We don’t use that term so much these days. I got to thinking about how we look at miracles as I sit here recovering from surgery on both achilles tendons. Before the surgery I was extremely limited in my ability to walk or even stand for any length of time. I was slowly losing my ability to be mobile. 100 years ago, a person in my situation would probably be confined to a wheel chair. If there was a surgery available, infection was a real issue. Today I was out of the operating room in two hours and resting comfortably at home later that afternoon. In a few weeks I will have my legs, as well as my life, back. There is nothing mysterious about it today, but the technology and surgical techniques involved would have been miraculous to my great-grandparents.
Many people, myself included, associate miracles with God. I like to think there is a higher power looking out for me. I believe God guides the surgeon’s hands the same way he guides the school bus driver’s hands. God gives us miracles every day it just seems like we only notice them when there are lots of lights and action.
One of my favorite stories regarding miracles came from a church service when I was a kid. A terrible storm was approaching a coastal area and horrible floods were predicted. The sheriff’s deputies came and offered to help a man evacuate. He declined, saying God would take care of him. Sure enough, the waters started to rise. the man was sitting on his roof when a boat driven by a members of the National Guard pulled up and offered to take him to safety. Again he said no. He told them that God would take care of him. The waters continued to rise. The man was sitting on top of his chimney when a Coast Guard helicopter hovered over him. A young man was lowered on a cable and offered to take him to safety. The man was steadfast. He said he would stay and God would take care of him. The waters continued to rise and the man was standing on his chimney with water up to his neck. He knew that the end was near. He look up and shouted to God, “Why haven’t you heard me Lord? I asked for a miracle.”
A voice came down from the heavens. “What do you want from me?” the voice rumbled. “I sent the Sheriff, the National Guard and the Coast Guard!”
I guess how you look at miracles depends on your perspective. It is true that not every story has a happy ending. That is simply life. Life, however, is filled with little miracles. The miracles with we don’t expect are special, but the everyday miracles are special too. We just have to recognize them.
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