“God is not a divine vending machine- we slip in a prayer and out pops a miracle.”
- Adam Hamilton
One of my lasting memories from the Cottage PICU was the outpouring of concern I felt from my friends and family. I was the subject of many prayers throughout those early days. Pastor Alan, from our church, came every day and prayed over me and my family. Many cards and notices came from across the country and from all over the world. When a prayer chain gets started, it travels fast and far. People sent their support, love and showed that they truly cared about me and my family. People even prayed for a miracle.
A miracle, I thought, would be my was out of this. As time wore on and the prayer chain extended I was questioning if God was even listening. When I was in rehab some of my friends got some return of their function. For some these developments were miraculous. For me, nothing much was changing. How do I interpret the results of all these prayers?
The obvious miracle is when the severely injured are healed and can walk, or the blind are suddenly granted the ability to see. These are grand miracles and obvious to everyone when they occur. Some miracles, though, are less obvious and require you to look hard. Some miracles wouldn’t make a great biblical story, or have a bankable Hollywood ending. Some miracles are deeply personal yet universal truths, that when realized are liberating and reveal God’s eternal wisdom.
The quiet concern of a friend, the warm casserole dish of a neighbor, the caring touch of a nurse, the sympathetic cries of an elderly man, the sarcastic laugh of a childhood friend, the encouragement of a music teacher, the compassion of a loving family, the giving back to a community which has given so much. I could go on and on… The miracle is that I have not given in and nobody has given up on me. Everyday something miraculous can happen.
“I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.”
- Admiral Chester Nimitz