It is late. I'm exhausted. But I can't go to sleep without writing this.
I've been waiting on a miracle.
Like nothing before in my life, I've been waiting on this miracle.
A miracle that even my children pray for, very specifically, every time they bow their heads.
A miracle that for years, our family has invested into with our time, energy, hope, money, love.
But mostly we've just waited.
In the last couple of weeks the Lord has gently been showing me that the waiting, the waiting for this specific miracle, has grown my heart very calloused, a little hard, quite cynical.
Because it just doesn't seem possible.
Yesterday He started unwinding something in me. He started giving me words for my deepest fears. Words through a picture.
Maybe you, too, are waiting on a miracle. And maybe you, too, have grown calloused in the waiting. If so. This picture is for you, too. I wish I could paint or draw or otherwise give real light to the vibrant colors of this picture in my head. But, instead, you'll have to stumble through the avenue the Lord has given me to share. Words.
I'm waiting for the parade to begin. And if we are going to do this, this parade watching, we are going to do it BIG. I'm decked out in my red, white and blue. I'm READY. My family is ready. We've reserved our seats, but we barely sit we are so excited. We invite others to join us. We stare expectantly down the road. Waiting with great anticipation. Knowing it will be even better than the last. Knowing it will be amazing.
But we wait. The parade doesn't begin. Not when I believed it should. Not hours after I thought it would. It didn't come at all like I expected. But I still waited. At first I found ways to pass the time, I dreamed about how great it would be, I held onto the hope of this parade.
Slowly my jumping for joy turned into a quiet seated posture
then more slowly into an elbows on the knees slump.
I still looked down the street, I wasnt giving up because I knew I shouldn't, but I just wanted it to be over now so I could go home. As others joined me in waiting, I would bite my tongue not to remind them how long I'd already been waiting. How far past due this parade was. How they really shouldn't bother setting up their chairs at all. It might not even come.
But behind me. Just past where my slumped eyes could see. I was missing it.
I was missing a shop owner washing the windows of the business he loved.
I was missing the painter covering over the graffiti on a wall.
I was missing the aromas of a baker creating goodness to share with weary travelers.
I was missing the older man talking to passersby as he filled the cracks in the sidewalk.
I was missing the quiet glow of the streetlights coming on as the sun set.
I was missing the families around me laughing and working together and creating memories.
I was missing the preparations of the town and the gathering of the crowd.
The town behind me was coming alive. Slowly slowly slowly, coming awake.
And I was missing it.
Because I was watching for the parade.
The parade was so very important. The parade gave the town something to prepare for. Something to look forward to, a reason to come ALIVE. But it wasn't the miracle. The miracle was in the preparations.
And I missed it.
Because I was so sure that the parade was coming.
I know I've said it before. The thing about miracles is that they don't ever look like what you expect. That's the very thing that makes them miraculous. I'm no theologian, so you can't quote me on this. I don't know the Greek/Hebrew/whatever language definition. But I'm coming to believe "miracle" should be defined as "but Jesus...". When you read "but Jesus..." in the Gospels you know He is about to do something no one else expected.
Just like in Mark 9. A man comes to Jesus and asks that Jesus rescue his son- his son was possessed by an evil spirit. vs 25-27 from the Message:
"Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: 'Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!' Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, 'He’s dead.' But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up."
Did you see it? "BUT JESUS..." The people, they saw the spirit come out of him, but they also believed the miracle didn't work..."He's DEAD" they exclaimed. What did the boy's father think? In that instant was he tempted to believe it didn't come true- the miracle of healing wasn't his to be had? It certainly didn't look like he expected, this miracle. His son was free of the spirit. But his son was dead.
And then it happens, his miracle. Otherwise known as his "BUT JESUS...".
"But Jesus, taking his hand, RAISED HIM."
The miracle didn't look like anyone expected.
And the same is true for each of us.
We ask boldly for babies. And learn it won't be so.
We ask for marriages to be healed. And they crumble.
We ask for quick healing. And people die.
We ask for change of heart. And much time passes.
We ask for freedom from addiction. And the darkness continues.
We wait on the miracles. And our hope seems disappointed.
But Jesus brings a child into a family through adoption.
But Jesus brings a boy out of a broken family and leads him to counsel teenagers toward hope.
But Jesus provides a path for families to turn their grief into encouragement for others
But Jesus changes our own hearts while we wait.
But Jesus provides a path out of darkness and back into the light.
But Jesus, taking our hand, raises us up.
This miracle I've been waiting on was never mine to define. I wasn't asking for a miracle. I was asking to have "it" done my way. My frustration in not seeing it come to pass has nothing to do with whether He can make it so. It has everything to do with my heart and my ability to see the miracles all around me.
He is indeed miraculous. His power is present. He is at work. Transformation is at hand. Windows are being washed, walls are being painted, the aroma of goodness is drifiting down the street, the cracks are being slowly filled. The parade is coming. HE is coming. And while we wait, lets not miss the incredible opportunity He has given us to experience the miracles all around us.
Because if we miss the changes in our own hearts, if we miss the lives changing around us and we miss the opportunities to partner in the transformation, we've missed the very point.
Why else would we still be waiting?
Be blessed in the waiting.
Believe in miracles.