Saturday, March 23, 2013

Miracle intent: A heart that sees and follows through

Do miracles still occur today as they did in Bible times? Yes, but they usually take place in such a manner as to preserve the need for faith. Even those who witness them must choose whether or not to believe in their validity.
 -- James C. Dobson, When God Doesn't Make Sense.

God wishes to move the will rather than the mind. Perfect clarity would help the mind but harm the will. Humble their pride.
-- Pascal, Pensees, 234. 

Seeing miracles requires a certain kind of heart 

I once met a man who was unwittingly saved by an oak leaf. He told of the day that something ruptured inside him. He was rushed to the hospital, outlook grim. "It was the darndest thing," he said. After surgery, the doctors told him that an oak leaf had wrapped around the aneurysm and saved his life. An oak leaf in his body, preventing death!

He told the story as a joke, a random event to laugh about with guys. Stunned at his dismissive treatment of something so crucial, I mentioned divine thankfulness. "Shouldn't you give thanks to God?" I asked. He shrugged and immediately turned away: "Just lucky," he said. No God to thank. No curiosity as to how an unknown, accidentally ingested oak leaf could have wrapped around the one thing that would kill him... Since God could not be part of his consciousness, there was no miracle to it.

It's interesting to see how many people directly witness the miracles of Jesus, yet turn away from following Him. It's unbelievable, yet true: The apostasy of John 6:66, where many disciples turn away from Jesus, follows directly on the heels of the great miracle of loaves and fishes -- thousands of people witness and participate in this miracle, but it leaves many of them radically disappointed in Him. As it works out from miracle to meaning, they turn away. The miracle demands a yielded heart, in order to remain a miracle. In the minds of those who turned away, the miracle merely becomes a "random event," and Jesus merely another man...

So what about the miracles in your life? The dozens of almost unnoticed signs and hints, things easily called coincidence... Have they remained signs, markers of God's presence and work, even in the midst of silence and questions? Or with the rush of human events and personal desires, does their remembrance merely pass into a blur of random eventuality, where life moves on, with faith a question, and not a life-changing reality...? Is that the case?

This is the temptation of every human, when faced with the quiet miracle power of God: Will I let it work out its providential meaning in my life, gratefully accepting the guidance and presence of God? Or will I pass it by, with a shrug and busy mind? "Just another coincidence that has no real meaning for me...!"

There will always be partial light and partial darkness, at the intersection of miracles in this current frame of human life. However hard it is for us to choose the light, we must. However much it goes against our personal wishes and inclinations, to choose light at that moment is to gain more light. And on we step up the divine stair, going from strength to strength, higher up and further in, in grace, receiving the destined promise. Alleluia!


No comments: