Thursday, October 27, 2011

If a miracle falls in the forest.....

"miracles that cannot be counted"
Job 9:10

I prayed an interesting prayer the other night.  I didn't even really mean to, it just happened.  A friend of mine was having to do some public speaking, not for the first time.  But she's been bothered lately by headaches, so I was praying for her at the time I knew she'd be speaking.  She's comfortable speaking in public, so my prayers weren't really about that, but about her headaches.  I was praying that she wouldn't be distracted by a headache, and that it wouldn't affect her in such a way as to be a distraction to her listeners.

And the prayer that surprised me was this:  I prayed that she wouldn't have a headache, and I volunteered to have a headache instead.  ??   What does that even mean?  It's not like God has a certain number of headaches to assign at any given time, and He's got to give them to someone.   Why not just pray that she doesn't get a headache?  But, you know, you just can't help what pops into your head sometimes...

So that was my prayer, and it was sincere, though it sounded silly to me right after I prayed it.  And I imagined talking to her later, and asking her how it went.  "Well?  And? Did you have a headache??"  And then I imagined her response:  "Oh, hmm.... I guess not.... I really didn't notice."  And then I'd be thinking, "Are you kidding??  I took your headache for you, even though I had something to do that night!  I had a headache, so that you wouldn't have to!"  And then I'd be incredulous that she was a participant in a miracle, and didn't even notice!!

Cuz really, that's the kind of gal she is.   She's sort of oblivious sometimes, ya know?  But it's okay.  She wears it well...   But I found myself thinking about the concept of a "wasted miracle".  Wouldn't that be sad to receive a miracle, and not even be aware of it?  If a miracle happens, and no one notices, is it still a miracle?

Well, I think the answer to that question is "yes".  To explain why, let's look at the definition of miracle.  The first definition is "a surprising and welcome event not explained by natural or scientific laws".  By that definition, it would seem that it has to be noticed.  Someone has to be surprised or glad about the event, and then they have to try to explain it, and fail.

But then look at the second definition:  "a highly improbable or extraordinary event that brings very welcome consequences." This one used the word "consequences".  And there's the rub.  Because often, when we see great consequences, we find other reasons to explain it.   Some miracles are too easy to explain away.  If my friend didn't have a headache, and I had one, she wouldn't think, and there'd be no way to prove, that I had hers.  She'd just think this happened to be a night where she didn't have a headache.   We don't think about the "why" when we're focused on consequences.  We just are glad it worked out the way we wanted it to, or we think it's only what we deserved.  I think kids are good examples of this.  Clean laundry appears on their bed, and until they are older, they don't even think about how it got there, much less appreciate that someone has worked to make it happen.

I shudder to think of how many miracles He has given me, that I have not been aware of.  Because I do believe that He performs miracles knowing full well that they are going to go unappreciated.  If my occasionally oblivious friend is guilty of it, then so am I.  Scripture talks about asking forgiveness for unwitting sins ~ sins we're not aware of.  But I think maybe I should be thankful ~ outwardly so ~ for miracles I'm unaware of, too.

Wait!   Look at that!  Is that one?  Hmm.....   :)

~ "Always give thanks to God the Father 
for everything" ~
Ephesians 5:20

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