It’s easy to feel like miracles are the exception, but when we look around we realize that they are splashed across the human experience with liberal love. Each couple conceiving a baby when it was supposed to be unlikely, each heart turned to God by the most unexpected means, each little ache lifted without explanation. I have yet to meet a Christian who didn’t have a personal story to share when the topic of miracles comes up.
It’s easy to downplay our miracles, strange as that may sound. We live in jaded times. We live in a culture that prefers to explanation to adoration. Doubt is rampant, hope is the “opiate of the masses.” The wave of criticism we expect from sharing these small (and large miracles) in public often confines our sharing to our church community, and even then it is frequently in private conversations or with close friends in hushed tones.
And I have started to wonder – why?
Why are we so afraid of sharing our miracles? Or perhaps the better question is, what are we afraid of?
Rejection? Doubt? Incredulity? Being ostracized? The sin of Pride?
It’s so important we ask these questions. In probing our own motives and fears we can better allow God into our weak and fearful moments. We can learn what to pray for and about. We can learn to sacrifice our self-consciousness for the glory of God.
I want to talk for a moment about the idea that it might be prideful to share our miracles. I had a lovely talk about this with a woman who was miraculously healed at a women’s retreat I recently attended. Her healing occurred during the same Adoration session when God broke through a lot of my own issues, so there was lots of joy to share. The priest had asked those who experienced physical healing to stand and the there was a truly incredible number of women standing when we all opened our eyes.
This woman was one of them, and after she shared her experience with me she confessed the fear that it was prideful to say that Jesus had healed her. She worried that her healing didn’t qualify as worthy to share as it wasn’t big or particularly exciting. And ultimately she confessed to worrying that she had made it into a bigger deal than it was, or that she had just made it up – caught up in the moment and the spirit of the room.
I don’t know about you but I feel that myself so often. I was miraculously healed of a lot of emotional and mental issues through the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, issues which I might add were not the reason I sought Anointing in the first place. But there is a great temptation for me to minimize the in-breaking of God that happened in that sacrament. I actually didn’t even realize something so miraculous had occurred until almost 10 months later, although it is so very clear in retrospect that something had truly and deeply changed in my life. But what kind of miracle takes 10 months to recognize? Would people think I was just trying to make myself sound special?
This is an area like so many in spirituality which intention really matters. It is possible to share your miracle in a spirit of pride and self-centeredness. It is possible to share seeking glory and awe for yourself, though it was no merit of your own that brought the miracle about.
But that’s not the only option. It is also very possible to share your miracle with a spirit humble before God, seeking only to spread the news of His great love and mercy. Jesus tells some of those He healed in the Gospels to go and spread the word of what had happened to them. For my part, I look at my healing as an incredible sign of God’s tremendous love and care for me – which He has ready and waiting to spill out on you as well, and that’s why I share my story.
I want you to love God, because God has so many incredible ways He wants to love you.
I want you to love God, because God has so many incredible ways He wants to love you. God loves everyone without exception, and that is always true, but when we return that love it invites God in a way that allows Him to move and work in your life. It’s just like with romantic love. A boy can love a girl whether she returns it or not, but if she does not feel the same he will have to continue to love only from afar. But if she returns his love a whole world of new ways to act on that love is opened to him, things he can only do because he has her love, trust, and attention as well.
The Church needs hearts fearless in sharing what God has done for them, because that’s how people outside that love come to want to live inside that love. It’s the only way. A Christian is a person who has met another Christian, and through that Christian they come to encounter Christ.
So how do we cultivate a fearless heart? It begins with personal reflection and prayer on what God really has done for you. Think of your life. Pray over it. There may be things that come to mind instantly, but there are frequently so many more interjections of the divine in our lives that go undiscovered if we don’t look for them.
Ask God to help you see His hand. Pray for an unlocking of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Spirit to fill you with courage. These are not prayers that God lets go unanswered, even if we must persist in asking. Be like the woman that just got on the judge’s nerves in the Gospel. Don’t. Stop. Asking.
When God’s hand working in our past, present, and future is revealed, if even briefly, it becomes more natural to step out in faith and courage. It becomes easier to trust. It becomes easier to move from the breathtaking fear of falling to the breathtaking thrill of flying through the air under His wings. We start to really understand what it means to trust and have faith and believe.
And that is not something to keep inside. That is something to share – primarily in whatever vocations God has given to you, but also in plain and simple conversation with whomever you happen to be talking to at the time. I’m not advocating obnoxious and inappropriate interjections of religious fervor at strange times, but if the conversation turns to your children, what about speaking of them for what they are – blessings from God? If the conversation turns to your work, why not share your gratitude for the gifts that God has given you to do it well? If it turns to physical ailments, why not share your stories of healing, or the peace God has helped you finding uniting with the cross through suffering? These conversations can be life changing to someone who has never had the opportunity to look at their own lives through this kind of lens.
And some people will think you’re an idiot. That’s all there is to it. Some many think it, some many say it. But so what?
Are you going to let a family member, friend, or stranger’s arbitrary opinion of you command what you do over the universe shifting and miraculous love of Creator that He has shown to you through your life? And moreover, are you going to let it stop you from potentially being His voice breaking into their lives with a message of that same radical love that’s waiting for them?
If the tone of this piece seems challenging, I think it’s because this is also the Holy Spirit’s challenge to me. To let go of fear. To leap out in faith. So often the Spirit takes advantage of my writing to show me things I myself need to hear. And this is most definitely one of those times.
So no judgement. If you’re not there, just offer up where you are at. This is a long road and people are at all different places, but the important thing is to be moving. Crawling, inching, walking, sprinting, whatever – we all have phases of every kind in our spiritual lives.
Offer Him where you are at now, and what you feel comfortable with. Ask Him to help you stretch, even if that means you just share your experience of God with one person – maybe just your spouse. There is no small growth to God. It all draws us closer to Him.
God bless you, and let me know how I can pray for you to grow in courage in the comments!