I’m not one to create memes. I know people who love to create memes. You can tell when they are trying out new memes in a conversation, seeing which are hits and which are misses.
But on our latest trip to East Africa, the title of this blog popped out of my mouth when I was teaching, and it has continued to pop into my head since then. So I thought I’d write about it and try it out on you.
“Be the miracle you are seeking.”
It happened when I was in Burundi. We had been listening to church leaders and business leaders lament about the prosperity gospel which causes people to go to church, pray for a miracle, and not work. We hear so many Africans lament about “lazy” people in Africa who don’t work but would rather spend hour after hour and day after day in prayer, seeking God’s blessing. I wince when I hear the word “lazy” yet I believe that there is a spiritual component in that reality, as God created all people with a desire to work.
The next day as I was speaking passionately about how we are to bring the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, a little more each day through our work, those words popped out: “Be the miracle you are seeking.”
Sometimes we forget what a miracle it is to be made in the image of a creative, working God. Often we forget that we, through our work, are fulfilling an aspect or characteristic of God. God is just, compassionate, creative and providential, and many of our jobs relate to those characteristics of God.
And so sometimes we spend our time looking or waiting for a miracle. We forget that WE are the miracle. We are the answer to many of the world’s problems, because of how our Creator made us. How we live, think, eat, sleep, work, and interact can bring healing and flourishing to ourselves and others around us.
I remember a story told of a man having a conversation with God, complaining that despite years of prayers for miracles, the man had never actually seen a miracle. God responds by saying, “You want to see a miracle?” “Yes!” the man says. “Very well,” God says and points to a tree. “There you go.” The man says indignantly, “That’s not a miracle! That’s just a tree!” To which God responds, “Let’s see you make one.”
If that is true for a tree, how much more for you and me? We are miracles, each of us made uniquely, with unique combinations of talent, treasure and time.
While many western Christians struggle with believing in extraordinary miracles (divine acts of God outside of the explanation of science), I do acknowledge and believe that miracles happen. But I also believe that miracles are the exception, not the rule. God is sovereign. He is not compelled to answer any prayer for any miracle. There is no formula for life or prayer that will guarantee a miracle from God. On the other hand, although God must do nothing, in grace, He does all things! No miracle given has ever been deserved but it is given through grace!
But day to day, I need to remember that I am a miracle. And each day is a gift to help bring the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth through my words and actions. We have the capacity, as co-creators with God, to be the living miracle that God has created us to be, to help this world to flourish.
My encouragement for you this day is to be the miracle you are seeking. Embrace it. Relish it. Live it. Love it. And by so doing, you will be loving God and your neighbor as yourself.