I witnessed a miracle.
My mom walked 37 feet. Yes she was using a walker, and yes she had two physical therapists assisting her, but she did it.
My mom walking 37 feet down a hallway may not seem worthy of the term “miracle” to most people, but to me it was one of the most miraculous things I’ve ever witnessed in person.
Six weeks ago, in the beginning of February, my mom was on life support. A ventilator had to breathe for her, pushing oxygen into her lifeless body, keeping her alive while antibiotics fought off her pneumonia. For eight days my dad, my sister and I were on a roller coaster of emotions. Sleep deprived, emotionally drained, displaced in an ICU waiting room, we sat day after day eagerly awaiting a team of doctors and the news they would bring. We never knew the exact time they would come or if their report would be cheer-worthy or heart-wrenching.
I was scared we were going to lose her, and I could not imagine life without my mom, my best friend. I know that one day my mom will leave this earth, but I was hoping it would be when I am 79 not 39. I am not ready for my mom to be gone.
At the start of this year I specifically asked God for a word. I had heard of people having a word that was a theme for their year. I had never had the desire to ask before, but this year was different. I needed to hear from God concerning my mom. Nothing big, just one word I could hold onto.
That’s all I heard and it was all I needed. At the beginning of this year my mom had been displaced two hours from home for five long months. For five months she was moved from one hospital-like facility to another in the Houston Medical Center. She was constantly encountering new problems, new setbacks, new infections; every day seeming dimmer than the day before. It appeared my mom would never make it home again, and I wondered if she was going to make it period.
Yes, hope was exactly the word I needed.
In mid-March my mom finally began making strides in the right direction. Now that her health is improving I can reflect on her eight days of life support. Monitors flashing and beeping, nurses and doctors in and out, text messages and social media pleas for prayer, coffee being poured, attempts at sleep in some of the most uncomfortable chairs known to man, puffy eyes, oily hair, wrinkled clothing, anointing oil, many, many tears…and all the while unknowing. Completely unaware of the miracle God was orchestrating.
At that time my hope was lost. My attempts to pray would fail. All I could do was cry thinking to myself how glad I am God’s Word says “the Spirit helps us in our weakness…the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).
This Sunday is Easter. This week always gets me. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday I am constantly reminded, year after year, of how amazing God’s love is. I love to read the accounts from the four Gospels – in case you don’t know Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all tell the Good News about Jesus’ life from His birth to His death on the cross, burial, resurrection and ascension to heaven. Like a flashing marquee, every year different things from these accounts stand out to me. It’s amazing how alive God’s Word truly is.
This week I realized that, like me, the disciples were unknowing.
For three years they had devoted their lives to Jesus, following Him where ever He went. They loved Him, respected Him, were amazed by Him and now He was saying things they did not want to hear.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer” (John 13:33).
Jesus had been dropping hints here and there that His stay on this earth was temporary and that soon He would die. But like me with my mom the disciples ignored the inevitable, one day He would be gone.
Then it began. Everything He said would happen as they shared their last meal was set in motion in the garden. Jesus was arrested, abandoned, denied, beaten, mocked, tried, and crucified.
Those who said they would go anywhere with Him and die with Him were gone.
I can’t imagine the thoughts that must have ran rampant in the disciples’ minds during this time. Every word they had heard Jesus teach, every miracle they witnesses Him perform; none of it made any sense now. Jesus said He was setting up His Kingdom and now He was gone. Every hint of hope hung on that cross.
I love that phrase. Spell check does not love it, but I do. Don’t you? In the darkest of circumstances there can still be a “But God” moment. He loves to show off and show He is still in control when things seem to be void of hope. He does this so that we will be reminded of His goodness, His sovereignty, His great love for us, but most importantly, He does this so that He will be glorified.
The disciples had scattered. They hid unknowing. Completely unaware of the miracle God was orchestrating.
On the third day two men in gleaming clothes announced to the women who had come to prepare the body of Jesus, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how he told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” (Luke 24:5b-7)
The women ran to tell the 11 disciples, but the disciples could not understand what the women were saying. It made no sense to them. Peter took off running. He ran to the empty tomb, took a good look at the strips of linen that had been left behind, and he walked away wondering what had happened.
Time passed, the disciples were still confused and scared. They were together, doors locked for fear of the Jews, and it happened. They witnessed a miracle. Jesus was standing there with them.
I cannot imagine their reactions. They probably all had teary eyes, racing pulses and the most shocked expressions on their faces.
Again Jesus had to explain everything to them. He explained that what was written about Him had to be fulfilled. He had to die and rise again on the third day. This time was different though. Seeing was believing, and now they understood. What they unknowingly thought was dark and hopeless ended up being the greatest miracle known to man. Jesus was alive!
So often, circumstances occur in our lives where we cannot imagine anthing good coming from our situation. The sudden loss of a loved one, separation or divorce that is not on our terms, a diagnosis that is terminal, an unplanned pregnancy, termination from employment, the list is endless. But God often takes those hopeless situations and uses them to grow us and strengthen our faith. Down the road we can look back and see that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28a).
If you have a story of a time you were unknowing and God was orchestrating a miracle I would love for you to share in the comments below.