Are you praying for a miracle? Did it ever occur to you that maybe God wants you to be a part of it your very self?
This year, it has hit me in the face that Jesus oftentimes used people in his miracles. A walk through the Gospel of John this year has opened my eyes and shown me how he required obedience to get things started:
Water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-11): Who filled up the jars with water? The servants. The Head-Guy-In-Charge didn’t see what happened, but the servants that listed to Jesus’ mama when she told them, “Do what he tells you to do” saw it happen before their very eyes.
- Heals the official’s son (John 4:46-53): A father begs Jesus to heal his son and Jesus sends him home. No evidence. No text or social update to know for sure and the official starts walking. He finds out later that his son was healed at the very hour Jesus assured him he would be healed. Mind blown.
- Paralyzed man walks (John 5:1-15): Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be well?” What kind of question is that? Oh yeah… we could dig into that one, couldn’t we? He had been an invalid for 38 years, but Jesus tells him, “Pick up your mat and walk.” Not only do the impossible, but clean up your stuff while you are at it. Don’t leave your mess for others to deal with.
- Feeding 5,000 people (John 6:1-15): A boy shares his lunch of 5 loaves and 2 fish. He didn’t have to. He saw the opportunity and handed over what he had for Jesus to make it more. Do we do that? Do we take what little we have and hand it over to Jesus to make it more?
- Lazarus raised from the dead (John 11:1-44): Ok, now this one is rich. I tell you! Jesus hears his friend is sick. He waits. What?!? Yes, he waits. He arrives and Lazarus’ sisters are beside themselves. “If you would have been here, he wouldn’t have died.” They show their great faith in his love and ability to heal their brother. Jesus weeps. He loved this friend deeply. This word for weeps is used nowhere else in the New Testament. It is an intense emotion that Jesus is feeling. Then he does the unthinkable. He tells them to roll away the stone. The sisters are practical in their response, “Ummm…it’s been four days, he is going to stink!” He challenges them and the mourners start rolling that stone. They obey him when it doesn’t make sense! (ouch) At that moment, the crowd of mourners is thinking he has lost his mind and he calls to his friend, “Lazarus, come out!” Now, let’s pause this for a second – I just wonder what Lazarus was thinking. He is hanging out in Heaven and he has to come back to this world of sin and pain?!? I wonder if he’s irritated at Jesus for this? – unpause – Lazarus comes waddling out, all wrapped in his strips of linen and needs help getting them off. He obeys Jesus in order to accomplish the miracle.
- Boatload full of fish (John 21:1-14): The disciples didn’t catch anything all night. In the morning, a risen Jesus tells them to throw the net out on the other side of the boat. You know they were thinking, “Are you kidding me?!?!” but they do it anyway. Large fish fill the net – 153 to be exact. It is so full it is bursting at the seams. After they haul it in and come ashore, Jesus feeds them breakfast. I bet he was a good cook.
Jesus is still in the business of miracles. I’ve seen some myself. I have to confess though; when I think of miracles, I think of the big things, but maybe, just maybe, there are small miracles all around us. Are our eyes open to them? Do we look for an opportunity to obey him and be a part of something miraculous? Do we pray for God to do something while we sit on our rears instead of getting in the game? I’m not saying we don’t trust God for things, I’m just wondering if he is waiting on us. Is he waiting for us to draw the water or hand over our lunch or cast our nets? Is he waiting for us to take up our mat and walk or to head home without confirmation? Is he waiting for us to roll away stone or walk out of the deadness we are in? Is he asking us to do the impossible knowing he will make it work and we are sitting there in our grave clothes unwilling to obey?
If we are praying for a miracle, are we also listening to what he would have us do?