I normally do not post twice in a day, but today God has glorified Himself mightily and convicted me in the process, and as a result I want to share some of what I’ve learned with all of you. In order to do that, I’ll open with a confession that I suspect I’m not alone in:
I rarely pray for miracles.
I mean, I pray for divine interventions. I pray for things that seem like a reach unless God gets involved. But mostly I hedge my bets. I pray for God to do His work and to do His will and, you know, if that means a miracle, that’s awesome, but if not I totally understand because it’s all up to Him anyway. I don’t pray what I call disciple prayers. I don’t pray God-glorify-yourself-by-doing-this-thing-right-now prayers. I don’t pray God-I-am-going-to-tell-this-mountain-to-throw-itself-into-the-sea prayers.
I used to. But somewhere along the way, I stopped.
I’m not precisely sure why. It wasn’t a conscious decision. Maybe it’s because I associate major miracles with the New Testament and the disciples more than I do with our modern world. Maybe it’s because I took Jesus a little too seriously when He said “a wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign” (Matt. 16:2-4), forgetting that what angered Jesus was not people seeking His help or intervention but rather people who did so as a prerequisite for believing He was who He said He was. Maybe it’s because I constantly rationalize myself into believing that praying “God’s will” is enough and that if God wants to work a miracle, He will do so without me asking for it.
Or maybe somewhere along the way I lost a little of the magic – a little of the wonder and surprise about what God can do, and will do, and wants to do.
And then, in one fell swoop, God restored it.
Work was the problem. It was killing my husband. Metaphorically, I mean. And I was more than a little worried it was going to start literally killing him, too. He has been drowning in emergencies and non-stop projects since back in December, but in the past two weeks everything shifted into overdrive. He got to work at 6, came home at 6:30, and sometimes had to work from his home office at night until nine or ten. He had to work weekends. And this wasn’t work he could shirk: it was major work, he was in charge of it, and he desperately wanted to glorify God by doing his best with it. But the human mind and body can only take so much.
I’d been praying about the situation earnestly – that God would offer my husband some sort of rest and restoration from this endless nightmare of problems – when news came in of another project he’d have to do on top of everything else. It’s a bit of a zombie project, one that keeps coming back to life to torture people even after everyone has tried to put it to bed. He was exhausted. I was exhausted. “Is there any way,” I wondered, half-joking, “that this project could just magically go well and not cause any problems? Because then you could get some rest this weekend.”
“Yeah,” he said, “if we get two clean data sets. But that’s not happening.” The errors in the first data set alone had taken them an entire day and night to fix. The other two had to be studied line by line for similar errors, and there was no likelihood they’d come out perfect. I couldn’t imagine how long it would take to fix them. I went to wash the dishes last night, brooding over it.
You should pray for two clean data sets.
I am sure the thought was the Spirit’s because it did not come from me. I looked around. I went back to washing dishes. I don’t know why I felt the thought was absurd, but I did. And then another thought.
You have not because you ask not.
Alright, God. Okay. For whatever reason, instead of loaves and fishes I was to ask for two good data sets where none had been before and where the likelihood was low. Could God possibly want to glorify Himself over something as random as this? Before I could chicken out, I texted my mom. “Look,” I told her, “I need you to pray for something weirdly specific.” I explained the situation.
Nonplussed, she wrote me back immediately. “Absolutely! Where two or more agree… I will pray for ‘bread’!” (Check Matt. 7:9 for clarification on what she meant, if you’re confused).
Can I tell you that actually praying for this miracle was an enormous spiritual battle for me? I felt like it was absurd to ask for such a thing from God, and absurd to expect He would grant it. People are dying of cancer. Buildings are getting blown up. Why on earth should I have the audacity to ask for two clean data sets and some much-needed rest for my husband? How I am supposed to ask for something like that and then believe with certainty it will happen? And anyway, what if it doesn’t? Should I not mention it to my husband so he won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen?
I was inexplicably worried about setting God up for failure, somehow. Which is absurd.
What all of this told me is that despite being a Christian since I was eight years old, I am still awful at believing God. Convicted, I asked God to repel my doubtful thoughts, I prayed with certainty that the next day would bring two clean data sets, and then I went and I told my husband that the next day would be a good day and he’d be home on time for dinner. He gave me a skeptical look.
Today: two clean data sets.
It is a credit to the way God strengthened my faith on request that when I found out about the good news, I was not surprised – just overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. My husband will be home for dinner tonight. The zombie project has been vanquished. And I am so, so full of praise – and also deeply, deeply embarrassed that I forgot who God was, and what He could do.
Because God cares. He really does care about the smallest, most insignificant things in your life. God is eager to glorify Himself before those who believe and wish to see it. God will still do marvels and great and miraculous works where He is asked and – more importantly – where He is given space to do it. He’s not interested in performing wonders to show who He is – His Son was the greatest wonder, and the only one necessary – but He really delights, I think, in glorifying Himself before His children in remarkable and wonderful ways.
Don’t forget that. Please do not make the mistake that I have made and assume that miracles will just, you know, happen if God wants them to maybe, and otherwise not at all. If the Spirit moves you, ask in certain expectation. Believe and wait for great wonders. Exercise the faith that you have been given.
God still moves. Even, and sometimes only, for the children He loves – just because He loves them.