Our Miracle

I witnessed a miracle on Easter Sunday.
A miracle of a cold stony heart melting into a heart of flesh under the ministering of the Spirit.
My brother, once bowed low under the weight of tragedy and grief, now standing tall, glowing full of the peace and love of God.
A face once lined with bitterness and anger now dripping wet with holy water.
Eyes that once saw only darkness now open once again to the light of grace and joy.
Fists once shaken in defiance at the face of God now raised toward heaven in victory.
It has been a long journey. Three and a half years.
Nothing has changed.
Kristina is still gone from this earth. Ethan is still motherless. Mike is still a widower.
Everything has changed.
As we spoke, this strong, ever-seeking brother of mine said that he still had questions, doubts, things that he doesn’t like about how things happened.
So do I. Don’t we all?
And yet.
Underneath all of those questions and doubts, underneath his dislike of the pain and suffering, there is peace.
The peace of knowing that there are answers. The peace that someday he will be reconciled to those years of heartache. The peace of knowing for certain that God is good and God is love and God is working toward the best for all of us.
As long as we know what it’s about, then we can have the courage to go wherever we are asked to go, even if we fear that the road may take us through danger and pain. ~ Madeleine L’Engle in Walking on Water
The peace of knowing what God is about.
I got to be there as he chose once again to give himself over to the love and care of God, his Father.
I watched hard as he went down under the water
I wept unashamedly as he rose again, his fists raised high in triumph, his face shining with water and tears.
Those of you who have grieved with us over these past few years, will you also celebrate with us?
My brother has come Home.
This is my revelation
Christ Jesus crucified
Salvation through repentance
At the cross on which He died
Now hear my absolution
Forgiveness for my sin
And I sink beneath the waters
That Christ was buried in
I will rise, I will rise
As Christ was raised to life
Now in Him, now in Him
I live
I stand a new creation
Baptized in blood and fire
No fear of condemnation
By faith I’m justified
I will rise, I will rise
As Christ was raised to life
Now in Him, now in Him
I live


He is ALIVE!!!
Today, the tomb is empty.
Today, the earth is singing for joy.
Today, He has risen from the dead.
Today, He has proven beyond any doubt that He is able to fulfill His promises!
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev. 21.3-5)
He is able!
He is ALIVE!!!

Art credits: Das Engel öffnet das Grab Christi by Benjamin Gerritsz Cuyp; Title page of the New Testament section of a Martin Luther Bible; The Resurrection by Luca Giordano

His Invisible Hand

Our family has been learning over the past few years as we experienced some truly ugly things. We’ve learned about who God is and what He asks of us even when we don’t understand or like what is happening.

My learning will never be complete (for which I am grateful…I’m one of those odd ones who loves to study and learn!) and I recently was struck by yet another lesson as our church studied through the book of Ruth.

As I studied Ruth and as I thought about this book as compared with other books in the Bible, I noticed that God seems to work in two very different ways.

God sometimes uses His visible hand of miracle to accomplish His purpose. Think about the parting of the Red Sea and the manna provided from heaven. Think about the healing of Jairus’ daughter and the feeding of the 5,000

God also sometimes uses His invisible hand of Providence to accomplish His purpose. This is what happens in Ruth. Israel is in the period of the judges which means that they are bouncing around between brief periods of stability and long periods of rebellion, being conquered by foreign armies, and experiencing severe famines.

Here are Naomi and Ruth: they are widows, they are childless, they are in a foreign land, they are going home to Israel not knowing what they will find.

Naomi, especially, knew the traditions of her God. Perhaps Ruth had heard the stories. The miracle stories of Noah saved from the flood, of Israel rescued from Egypt. I imagine they may have wished for that visible hand of miracle.

Instead, they got hard work gleaning in a field, an owner of that field who just happened to stop by and act with kindness, the surprise of that very owner being a close relative, a desperate and courageous request from Ruth. The result? A marriage, a baby, perhaps a bit of stability. Several small blessings along the way, but certainly no miraculous raising of the dead.

And yet.

From that marriage and that child came the greatest king that Israel would ever know, bringing wealth and stability and godliness to the nation.

From that marriage and that child came the greatest King that our world would ever know, bringing rescue and mercy and grace to all the nations.

My honest confession? I want the miracle. I don’t want the invisible hand of Providence. When Kristina was fighting for her life, we begged for miraculous healing. That’s not what we got.

And yet.

Even though the miracle is what I wanted, I can still trust in God’s unseen hand. I can know that God is still working, even though we, like Naomi and Ruth, may not see the end of the story.

Even though I am now pleading for another miracle, I am so grateful to be assured that while I pray out my sadness, my anger, and my bitterness, God is right now at work healing hurts not even felt yet and creating answers to problems I haven’t even yet encountered.

Abba. Thank You.

(if you are viewing this via email/in a reader, click here to view this video)

art credit: Whither Thou Goest painting used with gracious permission by artist Sandy Freckleton Gagon

special thanks to our Pastor for his thoughts on Ruth