Weeks ago, when we were freshly reeling from the difficult news we had received about our baby, we sat in Mass and listened to the Gospel. It was about miracles. We listened to stories about how Jesus had healed a woman and brought a little girl back to life. I'll be honest. At that moment it kind of felt like a bit of a slap in the face.
I am sure I felt a bit like some of the people in the crowd might have felt. Pressing around Jesus. Looking for miracles. Then one woman who touches the hem of His garment is healed. Her faith healed her. It makes me wonder if any of the people in the crowd asked the question. "What about my miracle? Why her? I have faith too. I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe. Why not me too?"
It was a question I found myself asking. "Where is my miracle?"
Because in that moment all I wanted was a miracle. Not just any miracle of course. My very own custom made to order miracle. I wanted to be able to ask God for exactly what I wanted exactly the way I wanted it.
My vision is very short sighted. I can't see the whole picture and because of that it is sometimes easy to forget that there is something beyond my field of vision.
It's all too easy to call out that challenge to God. God you are all powerful. I know you can do this. So why don't you?
It's pretty much the same challenge the first thief called out to Jesus on the cross. "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" Luke 23:39
Of course the second thief had one simple request. "Jesus remember me when you come in your kingly power." Luke 23:42 And we all know what Jesus responded to him. He said, "get down off the cross. Your faith has healed you." Right?
Oh that's right. He said, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Luke 23:43
That's right. He basically said, "dude we are both going to die today."
I don't know about you but I'm pretty sure that if I were in that situation, that's not the kind of miracle I would be asking for.
But of course there was more. He told the thief that they were both going to be in Paradise. There was something more. Something better. His kind of miracle was to save the Life of the thief in an entirely different way. Because his faith had healed him.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I don't believe in the "big" kind of miracles. The ones that defy scientific explanation. The ones that can barely be believed even when they are before our own eyes. I know they exist. I have seen them. I have every confidence that they can and sometimes do happen. I also believe that sometimes we miss the miracles. That we are too busy looking for our custom made to order "big" miracle variety that we fail to see the miracles that surround us each and every day.
I'm also not saying that I think it is wrong to ask for a miracle or that if we don't get the one we want the way we want it, it's because we were lacking in faith.
After all even Jesus asked for a miracle. "Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Luke 22:42 There He was, knowing He was about to be tortured and killed, after being betrayed and abandoned by His friends. Friends who had seen plenty of the "big" kind of miracles and yet would run and hide in fear in His hour of need. So He asked His Father, "any chance we could just skip this part?" You know what His Father's response was? "And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him." Luke 22:43 Yup. He basically said, "there there."
Now I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a good feeling what I would say in that moment. "Really?!" "Don't worry about it?" "I am about to be put to an agonizing death and all You, the Almighty, All Powerful One, can do is comfort me?" "Gee thanks a lot Dad!" I mean if anyone had enough faith to deserve a "big" made to order custom miracle, wouldn't it be God's only Son? God Himself? One with the Father. He kind of had an "in." But obviously that would not have been the right kind of miracle. It would have been the seemingly obvious one but not the one that would bring us eternal salvation. The bigger picture. Life eternal.
People have been telling me that I'm an inspiration, that they admire my courage and faith and how well I am handling all this. If they only knew. The truth is that I have my ups and downs. It is very easy to write and display for the world the thoughts that portray myself in a positive light. The moments that I feel like shouting curse words from rooftops are hidden away in the depths of my soul. I might be willing to show you my messy house or vent about my frustrations with Pipe Gremlins but I like to keep my messy soul hidden. And I know that it is easier now to work through my emotions and cling to my faith. I also know the moment will come when I will be really put to the test. It is much easier to think and plan for that moment now than it will be in the moment.
I can only hope and pray that when the time comes. When I am holding my tiny son in my arms. When every fiber of my being will be calling out, praying, pleading, begging. Because God knows the desires of my heart. I hope that when I find myself crying out to please, let me keep my son with me, I can have the faith and strength to add, "not my will, but thine, be done." I hope and pray for that strength. That God will grant me that angel of comfort. And I pray that if I fail. In my weakness if I can't bring myself to say those words. I hope for forgiveness.
Because I know that my vision is limited to what seems to be best here on earth. This life. It's easy to forget about Life. It's easy to hope for the "big"custom made miracle and to forget about the better harder to see miracles that surround me every day.
Because the miracles do surround me. I am in awe of them. Miracles I could never begin to deserve. The miracle of a loving family when I know there are others out there who do not enjoy that comfort. The miracle of comfort, support and encouragement from friends, family and even people I have never met. The miracles that came from choices I made throughout the years, with God's guidance (sometimes fighting it tooth and nail the whole way) that brought those people into my life. Where to go to school, where to work. The miracle that pushed me, despite my fear and reservations, to join a mom's group after the birth of my son. Those choices brought me the best of friends and my husband and my husband's family who are now my family.
The miracle of a small package sent in the mail, from a friend.
I am reminded of whenever I have to go through the inconvenience of losing them temporarily.
The miracle of a supportive doctor despite my aversion to change. A woman who had an established career yet chose to go back to school and become a doctor.
The miracle of a priest who said just the right words at just the right time. A man who chose after a terrible tragedy, to follow God's call to the priesthood.
The many miracles that led up to the miracles of now. Some I could never even know about. Scientists and doctors who throughout the years have followed God's call in their lives and made the many medical advancements we enjoy today. If the lives saved by these men and women are not miracles, I don't know what is.
The miracle of this baby. He is a precious gift. No matter the outcome, our lives have been touched by him. And we are better for it.
And the prayers. So many prayers. Every single prayer is a miracle. Every time someone makes the decision to turn their hearts to God and pour out their desires, feelings, hopes, fears. It's always a miracle.
The prayers of a man who devoted his life to God as a minister and now lives in Heaven with Jesus, listening to the prayers of his daughter who is a dear friend of mine. The prayers of my daughter in heaven. The prayers of the saints in heaven.
Those prayers are powerful. And I feel them. They surround and sustain me. They overwhelm me.
And leave me with the words that will never be powerful enough to express my true feelings.