I’ve been dwelling on this message for a long time. It continues to beg to be written and shared, and one can only ask the Spirit to wait for so long. Now, more than ever, with my dad progressively weaker and time more precious, it feels important to tell you this: It is time to claim your miracle. It is time to give God credit where credit is due.
As I journey with my dad while he looks upward and travels onward, I am amazed by the miracle of him still being here with us. His prolonged life on Earth is a heavenly gift that must be recognized and called exactly what it is – despite the fact that the end of his life seems nearer than ever. So often over the last year-and-a-half I have witnessed God’s miracles in his life. So often I have looked upward and whispered, “Thank you.”
As Christians we are flawed in our idea of what a miracle is. The more one reads the Bible, the greater the degree to which we begin to lose sight of the fact that God’s miracles come in all sizes. We mustn’t limit God by beginning to think that all miracles are on a grand, highly visible scale like the feeding of the 5,000; the parting of the Red Sea; or sudden cures for inoperable brain tumors. I rather like how Merriam-Webster reminds us of what exactly a miracle is:
1. an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
2. an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
3. ChristianScience : a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law
Or how about Grudem’s definition:
“A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself” (Systemic Theology, chapter 52).
You see, miracles happen around us every single day, we just fail to see them. When we fail to recognize His miracles, we lose the opportunity to bear witness to Him… and God’s presence seems less and less visible – less and less believable to everyone. As God’s people we must be His spotters, and when we see Him we must claim Him, just as he claimed us through holy baptism. God’s grace is endless; but truly loving relationships are two-way streets. Our relationship with Christ comes with the responsibility to make sure that his legacy lives on through the great commission – to go and be fishers of men. What easier way to do this than to recognize and claim the miracles happening in your life?
In June of last year my dad lay in bed just a few months away from dying, according to multiple leading experts in his type of brain tumor. They explained to us over and over again that palliative care was the best option, and that we could not hope for the possibility of him living past nine months from then – more likely it would only be three to six. They worried when we hoped anyway, when we believed in God’s abilities against all odds. Lovingly, yet unquestioningly, medical professionals at Mayo explained that there were no interventions available to change the timeline. Upon hearing what they had to say, my dad asked God for His miracle. My dad explained to me that he knew that God could give him more time if God saw fit; and that if God gave him his miracle he would give all of the Glory to God – he would claim his miracle.
Today I encourage you to do the same. In this advent season of anticipating and celebrating the birth of our miraculous savior, I challenge you to increase your belief in God’s awesome powers. You might even ask for your own miracle. I beg you to open your eyes to see what’s happening, and to let your soul be filled with wonderment. Further, and perhaps most importantly, I call you to give all of the glory to God, publicly. Follow Jesus’ call to you, his disciple, to be a fisher of people. Teach people of Christ the same way we teach our children about the magic of Christmas – and the easiest way possible – by telling them the stories of miracles.
May we all experience firsthand the miracles God continues to perform. Blessings to you this Christmas season,
Kelly is Pastor Hogenson and Ruth’s daughter, and Connor and Megan’s mom. She and her family live in Minneapolis.