Sunday, October 21, 2012

Defining a miracle

Shared this story this evening with my fellow men during our meeting and discussion of the second chapter of Samson and the Pirate Monks, thought I might as well type it out and get it posted... for those who are around and have talked to me about this, you've heard it before for those who haven't I hope it might be some encouragement... When we first learned that my mom was sick, having been diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer (just as so many women in her family had been before her), I was not where I needed to be in my relationship with God. I had drifted into a comfortable place of living my compartmentalized Christianity. I was who I needed to be based on who was around me, and I put very little thought into growing or maturing in my relationship with Jesus. Mom's diagnosis and ultimate prognosis woke me up and sent me searching through scripture in a renewed way. I defaulted into a mode of life that reflected my truly immature Christian self. I searched for scriptures to make me feel better and prayed prayers designed for me to get what I want. I often fall into this pattern of thinking that I can manipulate God into giving me what I want, I am apparently that clever... So, one night, around 2AM, my phone rang... mom was headed to ICU, a pulmonary embolus had attempted to end her fight right there. My prayers intensified in earnest, and I pleaded for God to heal my mom... in the still, powerful silence of one of these moments God revealed something to me that has changed my life forever... I am perfectly free to ask of God to perform a miracle as I had been, but I had no right to define the miracle. Beggars can't be choosers... I was encouraged and comforted in that moment as God laid out before me the train of thinking to show that if I was truly willing to accept that God is God and He alone is God, then I could take solace in knowing that He would heal my mom, but I had to accept the fact that her complete and total healing was going to be on God's terms. It is not for me to decide what, how, or when that healing would take place, but it was enough to know that it would. My prayers changed after that, I was able to much more easily pray for God's will to be done, and even pray that I might get to bear witness to her healing while she was still on this earth... but I also began praying that no matter the how, when, where of her healing, that there would be no doubt in the end that it was only by the power, grace, and love of God that her healing would ever be possible. I prayed that anyone who witnessed her time remaining would be unable to doubt that it was God alone who made it all possible. God was faithful, as He always is, my mom has been fully, completely, eternally healed and is alive in full glorification with our Lord and Savior. God gifted us 4 years more than she ever should have had (from a medical point of view), including getting to be at my daughter's first birthday party. God even granted her something that most of us only wish we could have, she got to say when... at the point that the cancer was over running her, she got the chance to say that she was done playing by the rules of this disease, she was going to finish her life by her rules. In her last few moments, surrounded by her family, in the home she and my dad built to raise that family, God answered my selfish prayer. I had continuously prayed to see her healing on this earth. Again, teaching me that He is in control, God granted me that desire, just not as I expected it. Though I might be the only person who saw this happen, I will remember it the rest of my life, at the moment my mom passed from this life, she looked into my eyes and smiled. The image of it is burned in my mind... in that split second, God allowed me to see my mom, not as the diseased, decimated, broken body she had become, but her face looked younger, I could see the long, curly hair she once wore proudly, her bright eyes and her unforgettable smile. Its how I will always remember her, and its how God always saw her. I came away from my mom's death with a deeper understanding and a strong encouragement... I learned that I cannot place God into a box and confine Him by my own desires and understanding. I learned that sometimes I have to get out of the way and let God be God, and simply worship Him. I don't get to define for God what His miracles are, I just have to be paying attention to see those that happen around me. We can petition God for anything, but we have to be willing to understand that His answer may not be what we were looking for, but that does not make it wrong. If we are willing to accept that God is perfect, and therefore His decisions are right, then we have to accept that He gets to define the miracle. When we allow Him to define the miracle, we get to bear witness to amazing, powerful, beautiful things.

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