It started so innocently. I slid open the freezer bin and pulled out the frozen bell pepper I’d been slicing for my veggie eggs every morning. (I’ve found that peppers freeze very well, as long as you’re going to cook them—they tend to be a little mushy upon defrosting.) Normally, I have to run some hot water over the pepper before I can get my knife through it, but this time, I had no problem. Yes, it was frozen, but not as rock hard as I expected.
Hmmm, I thought. Maybe the freezer is going through its defrosting cycle. No worries.
Come early afternoon. I decided to finish off my lunch with a tiny scoop of ice cream. The carton seemed a bit… squishy. And when I dug in my spoon, I realized that the remaining rocky road was soup. Then I noticed the growing puddle on the kitchen floor. The ice cubes were melting. Oh no.
This has been an amazing two weeks. I didn’t get to post anything last Friday. Here’s why:
It all started Thursday, February 28, when my husband, Pete, went to the YMCA to work out on the elliptical. He does this almost every day, works hard, and is in good shape. However, this time, he had just gotten going when he collapsed and his heart went into ventricular fibrillation.
“I want to see more miracles!” Our friend pounded his fist into the table to emphasize how emphatic he was. “My biggest desire is to see God at work. I earnestly desire miracles!”
I understand our friend’s passion. Watching God do something incredible, something unexpected, something impossible, builds our faith like little else can. We hear of miracles in other places and we want one of our own.
But do we really?
I love how Pete phrased it: “What does the beginning of a miracle look like?”
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away… and sometimes He gives back again. You may remember my mention of our friends, Gene and Nancy, who lost their home in the Black Forest fire. They lived on the same block where the fire started, and had literally minutes to wake their daughter-in-law, grab the dog, the computer hard drive, and a box of photos (stored by the front door!) before jumping in their cars and fleeing for their lives.
Their house burned down, along with the accumulated treasures of fifty years of marriage. They are mourning their loss, and it is substantial. Yet, they have no doubt that God is good and that He is watching over them. For example…
Little by little the Black Forest fire is being put out. Hot spots continue to smolder under the pine needles carpeting the forest floor, and teams have to check every square foot of ground before residents are allowed back into an area, so it’s a slow process.
Our little neighborhood remained upwind of the flames and never burned, although there are blackened trees only a few blocks away. Yesterday the mandatory evacuation for our address was lifted. Even though we were warned that both natural gas and electricity (which also powers the pump in our well) were turned off, Pete and I couldn’t wait to get back into our house. We just wanted to be home!
We’ve owned a dreidel for years, but I’ve never had a clue what to do with it. It seems that we’ve been missing out on some fun. A dreidel is actually the essential piece of a gambling game! Traditionally, the game is played for chocolate coins rather than real money. Still… chocolate!
If you read my post on Hanukkah, you know that there was a period of time just before that event took place where practicing the Jewish religion was illegal. Of course, that didn’t stop the Jews from teaching their children about their heritage, and about the God who chose them to love.
According to tradition (and Wikipedia), the children would be out in the woods, learning the Torah, and hiding from the authorities. However, that looks a bit suspicious, so when anyone came along, they would quickly pull out a top and spin it. Now they just looked like innocent children playing a simple game.
How many miracles have you seen lately? Most American Christians seem to think miracles are exceedingly rare. Perhaps you know someone who has been healed, but it happened years ago. Or maybe you don’t think God does miracles in this day and age.
Our missions pastor said something recently that really bothered me. He encouraged our Sunday School class to go on a short-term mission trip because it would give them an opportunity to see God do miracles. That’s right—raise $3,000, travel halfway around the world, and maybe you’ll get to see God do something amazing.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about creating memorials to God’s faithfulness. I then told a story about our trip to Costa Rica, and how God showed up in incredible ways. Here is another story, about what happened when it was time for Pete to fly home from the 1995 conference in Korea that I mentioned a bit ago:
Pete had been gone for six long weeks, and the kids and I were eagerly anticipating his homecoming. I’d had a dream that he missed his flight, and I was so agitated that I emailed him and urged him to allow extra time for the airport. As a result, he left the hotel two hours earlier than normal.
God is so amazing!
I hope you know how incredible He is. Let me tell you what He just did for us.
On March 23 I mentioned that we had no money to pay the end-of-month bills. That’s because we haven’t received a paycheck since the end of January. This happens pretty regularly, especially lately. In this economy, supporting a ministry is low on most people’s priority list—after essentials like food, shelter, and taxes. We used to have an emergency fund, but after six years of erratic income, that’s gone. That’s all right—God is faithful. He’s also creative.
So, the end of the month was coming, and I had enough money to pay the credit card bill (food, fuel, some utilities, medical bills, and the like) or the mortgage—but not both. After years of practice, I don’t often stress over situations like this. I get excited. God’s going to come through, and it’s going to be awesome!
A dear friend of ours suffered a massive heart attack yesterday morning. As of last night he had not yet regained consciousness, needed a respirator to breathe, and had no brain function. Doctors are giving him a 1% chance of survival—as a vegetable.
Family and friends are gathered at the hospital, and of course we’re praying for a miracle. That’s what believers do, right? But in spite of our professions of faith, it seems that very few of the pray-ers actually believe in miracles. And, they assume, if God does intervene, He only does so on exceedingly rare occasions. As their church pastor pointed out, she had never actually seen a miracle. The whole concept was hypothetical.