A True Story On Miracles

Devotion on Miracles ©

Today’s devotion is on miracles, that inexplicable, supernatural phenomenon seen in both the Old and New Testaments. The story of Creation; Noah and the Flood; Passover; manna from Heaven; Moses and the burning bush come to mind. Jesus’ ministry has divinely appointed miracles throughout the Gospels. However, it is the empty tomb that resonates the most with us at this time of the year.

What about the existence of miracles in modern day? After spending my first winter in the Northern Alberta Prairies having moved from the Carolinas, I said to my mother: “it is nothing short of a miracle that anyone or anything survives!” But, that’s not the kind of modern miracle I’m referring to today. Oh, yes, we hear about these extraordinary, unnatural events during catastrophic disasters. The child found amidst the rubble of an earthquake; the rescue and survival of tsunami victims; or the unexplained medical miracle seen in the media outlets. All of these enter our world but seem distant and out of our realm. That is, unless we are touched personally. And, then, it becomes profound and uniquely personal.

I feel God uses every opportunity to share His grace and His deep love for His children. His miracles surround us every day. Because of the magnitude of natural disaster miracles we, sometimes, fail to grasp these every day wonders all around us. His glory shines through in the sunrises, sunsets, gardens and Four Seasons. He winks at us in the rainbows and smiles at us through the Northern Lights. And if we should lose a finger, he has given us nine others.

Yet, if we listen with our whole heart, occasionally, a miraculous moment in time explodes in front of our face. It is in these momentous occurences when life seems to stand still.

If you know our family you have most likely heard about my uncle, raised a Lutheran on an Indiana farm during the height of the Depression. He was the typical oldest son of seven who when he saw his baby sister crawl into the bullpen, he simply jumped in and grabbed her out. He got up at 4:30 in the morning to milk the cows; hunted minks; plowed the field and knew corn and wheat like the back of his hand. Give him a basketball and he’d give you a three point shot. Everytime.

Life took a dramatic turn for this young man at the age of 20. A tragic wartime accident caused him to be permanently blind with diminished hearing. Nevertheless, he married, went to college, then law school and provided for his growing family. And for so many others that would need his wisdom and support. Because this was a man who people came to for advice; and, then left with problem solving skills.

My prayer that God would provide the miracle of sight for my uncle never came to fruition. I often wondered, did God not hear? It would take a miraculous wonder for me to truly understand that God was, indeed, in each step on this worthy walk.

If you saw my uncle in his gardens after the sun had disappeared behind the crest of the mountains in the early evening of a North Carolina day, he would rise from his haunches, wipe his hands on his overalls and extend his right hand. And greet you with a warm, Southern smile. The recipient of this handshake immediately noticed that it was very firm, though one that came singularly from a thumb and two fingers. By the time you’d left you’d heard three new jokes, shared your troubles, felt better about yourself and knew one more thing about gardening.

But, it was the 40foot holly tree in the front yard that stuck in my uncle’s craw. There was no mate anywhere near and, as every farmer knows, a holly tree needs a mate. It grew taller and taller each year but there was no way it would ever bloom. Even if everything else this former farmboy from Indiana touched grew to perfection, this massive holly tree would still stay sterile.

It is funny what sticks in a person’s craw. I played cribbage with my uncle so many times and a perfect score simply eluded him. He’d caress those braille cards as if he knew that this time the numbers would add up. But, ultimately, his cribbage hand would end up one or two numbers shy of the coveted perfect score.

Until, that is, the night of June 6th when he sat down to play with Julia his wife, Frances’ identical twin. He ended the game with the very rare ‘29-point’ hand. It was left on the table for others to see the next morning, especially since June 7th was their 48th wedding anniversary.

My Uncle Gene died early in the morning of June 7th. Those passing by to pay their respects saw his last crib hand and it gave them a smile, just like he’d done in life for each and everyone so many times before.

At the funeral we all sang Amazing Grace and ‘sing-shouted’ during the stanza “I was blind and now I see”. It was when we went back to the house, however, that we witnessed God’s power in a true miracle. Of course, it seemed so appropriate. In retrospect, how could it be any other way? The holly tree was in full bloom. A miracle of His exquisite timing.

by DFRaborn, BA © dfr SDG 27 April 2011

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