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Need a Miracle Anyone?


“Happy New Year!” the cashier exclaimed with a smile. Jan took the bag of groceries, and briefly met the cheerful woman’s eyes before looking away and limping out the store.


Happy New Year? That was the last thing Jan wanted to hear.


Before Jan pulled out of her parking place, her phone dinged with a text from Linda.

“Hey girl, you’re going to the party tonight, aren’t you? Rob and I can pick you up if you want. Say about 8 PM? It’s going to be lots of fun!“


Jan sighed and looked out her windshield at the gray sky. Sure, she was planning to go. The bag of munchies beside her was evidence of that. Still, she wished she could figure a way out.


“Yes, I am planning on it and just picked up some fun munchies to bring. What are you bringing? I think I better drive myself though. My mom may call and need help,“ Jan dictated into her phone, glad Linda couldn’t hear the weariness in her voice.


Linda responded, “Oh, right. Sorry, I forgot. How is your mom?“


Jan‘s eyes filled with tears. Her mom’s terminal cancer was only a small part of the heaviness Jan felt. But Linda didn’t know that. “She has a lot of pain sometimes and the cancer is spreading,” Jan texted back.


Not up for any more conversation, Jan turned off her phone.


On the way home, Jan tensed as fearful thoughts raced through her mind. I wonder what Mindy is doing tonight. With all we have been through with her drug addiction, will she stay away from her old friends? Will she stay clean? And what about Phil? What was he really doing when he goes on these “business trips”? Could the stresses from Mindy’s drug problems—including the debt from her rehab—have contributed to our marital problems? If only I knew Phil could be trusted and supported me, these burdens with Mindy and Mom and my physical problems, would be so much easier to face.


Suffering


Jan suffers physically, emotionally, relationally, and financially. While Jan only exists in my imagination, suffering is real. You may be in the thick of it now. If not, you probably know someone who is.


Encouragement in Suffering


This morning a call from a friend reminded me of the importance of being ready to encourage others who are suffering. My friend was discouraged. She’s facing some tough things. After we chatted for a few minutes, I broached the topic of God’s Word and suggested she may want to read a few Psalms that are especially encouraging to me (Psalm 27, 46, and 91).


That I should be ready to encourage others, was an important reminder for me. With my declining vision, I’ve wondered what purpose God has for me and how I can learn the necessary tools I will need. Until now, much of my ministry has been through writing books and sending greeting cards, both of which are getting more difficult.

But soon I will have another tool to use to encourage others and to make available to others. My new book, The Place of Suffering: comfort and courage for the faith journey, is scheduled to be released on February 1.


Already I have a mental list of people to whom I am eager to send this 40-page booklet with full-color original watercolor illustrations and 18 devotionals. You probably know of several people who are suffering who would be encouraged by this booklet (fits in a 5 x 7 envelope for mailing). During February you can take advantage of the $6.99 introductory price. It would make a great Valentine’s gift!


It Takes a “Miracle”


Suffering—whatever its flavor—often brings a weariness of body and spirit. I’ve been discouraged many days and have felt like my fictional character Jan. In those times, a miracle that would remove my afflictions would be welcome.


One of the devotionals in my new book, Miracles… Every Day, gives a different take on suffering and miracles, and I wanted to share it with you.


Miracles … Every Day

The blaze of night sky artwork captivates crowds and elicits applause. But after the fireworks are spent and the admirers retreat indoors, God’s starry light display shines on—night after night.


Like other sufferers, I sought miracles for relief of pain, unhealthy relationships, financial woes, and emotional burdens. On rare occasions, miracles came. Like fireworks, miracles attract crowds, activate applause, and are preserved in our memories. But God usually does not meet us in that color of miracle.


Instead, He gives strength to face another hour of pain, to engage in another difficult conversation, to rest in what is in our hands.


And who can say which is the greater miracle? The removal of an unpleasant situation, bursting over our life like vivid fireworks? Or the quiet courage to trust God and reflect His light—day after day, night after night?




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