The Epiphany of Joy, Chapter 14: Joy in Everyday Miracles (2 of 2)
In all three of the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus concluded several parables with the phrase, “Whoever has ears [to hear], let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 13:43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8, 14:35). And in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 2, Jesus said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, and 29). As the Spirit opens our spiritual eyes to see beyond the natural, He likewise opens our spiritual ears to listen to, comprehend, and witness the reality of the supernatural, the Kingdom of God on earth, where miracles are an every-moment occurrence.
Miracles happen all the time; I know–I’ve witnessed countless, both large and small, and I’ve heard stories from others that can only be caveated as miracles. Why does God still dole out miracles? For our joy and encouragement, and for His glory. As a daddy myself, there’s nothing like hearing the squeal of surprise and unfettered joy erupting from my daughter as she opens up a gift she’s been nagging us about. At six years old, Hannah’s at the age where nothing’s subtle, especially asking for something she wants. She doesn’t drop hints, she just asks, asks again, asks yet again, asks continuously, like the persistent widow in Luke 18, until we either yell “no,” sigh “yes,” or begin plotting for the delivery of the gift wrapped in surprise. Hmm, sounds a little like God when we pray, eh?
As Mary prepared for Hannah’s sixth birthday party, we asked her what she wanted. “I want a magic kit!” she told us. And during the weeks leading up to the party her desire never wavered, so we passed the information on to Grandma and Grandpa, who set out to fulfill the mission. Mary had hired a professional magician to entertain Hannah and the dozen little girls at the party, so after the magic show ended, the cake and ice cream were consumed, and the piñata was smashed to confetti, we herded the sugared-up girls back into the living room so Hannah could open her gifts.
After Hannah had torn off the wrapping paper from a few boxes, Grandma handed her a long package. I pointed the video camera at her and stood in anticipation of the incipient culmination of weeks of expectancy. Hannah began peeling off the paper, and the instant she realized what she held in her lap, she squealed with joy. I mean, squealed! That is why God still performs miracles! That is why Daddy still hands out fish instead of snakes, and eggs instead of scorpions. He’s a good Daddy, and He loves it–loves it!–when we not only recognize His miracles with joy, but when we make known His marvelous deeds to the world. Like Hannah, the more we squeal about our magic kits, the more we glorify the gift Giver.
Like I said, I’ve witnessed countless miracles, many small, some extraordinarily large, and it’s funny: I seem to remember the small miracles more than I do the large ones, maybe because they seem to happen so often now. These are little signs He’s intimately involved in my moment-by-moment existence, that He cares about me more than I’ll ever realize.
In the fall of 2012 Mary and I (well . . . Mary) decided to replace the worn out, stained carpeting in our living room and hallway with laminate flooring. We’re do-it-yourselfers, so we ended up in the flooring department at Lowes poring over various types and styles of laminate, asking for advice, and comparing colors. Both of us quickly arrived at the same color and style: Pergo Hand Scraped Heritage Hickory. Independently deciding on the same style and color at the same time could be considered a miracle in itself! On that day, all the various colors in the Pergo style we wanted sold for $2.99 per square foot. When we got home that afternoon, I calculated how much it would cost to cover our entire living room and hallway. The laminate, vapor barrier, trim boards, and the flooring itself exceeded our $1,350 budget. We’d planned to install the flooring over Christmas break, but put off buying the material until we came up with a more affordable alternative.
A day or two later a Lowes flyer arrived in the mailbox. I opened it and casually flipped the pages to see if there was anything we couldn’t live without. As I turned to the flooring page, I noticed the ad featured Pergo laminate for the original $2.99 per square foot. Then I saw it: Pergo Hand Scraped Heritage Hickory, $2.49 per square foot, the only style that had been discounted. What the–?! I quickly calculated the new cost to redo our living room and hallway: $1,350, give or take! We rushed to Lowes, secured a whole pallet at the sale price, and got to work. Three days later (which was another miracle in itself!) we hosted Christmas at our house featuring a brand-new Pergo Hand Scraped Heritage Hickory laminate living room floor. Oh, and you know what’s even cooler? Both of the saws I used to cut the wood–the table saw and the compound miter saw–had been given to us by generous neighbors. For free. Yet another miracle! Praise God and pass the vapor barrier!
God reveals Himself every moment of every day, and He loves it when we not only recognize Him in the everyday miracles, but when we squeal with delight when we open the package and recognize the gift as coming from Him. And what’s even better? When we store up those stories of God’s awesomeness in our hearts and then tell those stories to the world. “Declare his glory among the nations,” urged the psalmist in Psalm 96:3, “his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” God gets the glory and we get the pleasure and the joy. As the psalmist sang in Psalm 107:21-22 (NIV):
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.
Be blessed, keep your eyes and ears open for those miracles, and tell of His works with songs of joy!
Copyright © 2014 David C. Hughes