O sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Worship the LORD in holy splendor;
tremble before him, all the earth.
~ Psalm 96
There is a lot to learn about over the years when it comes to God and miracles. Each day there are marvelous occurrences that we announce as a scientific breakthrough, or "an anomaly of a cell" as noted in my own hospital charting once.
According to Webster's Dictionary, a miracle is "a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency."
In seminary we called it, "A God thing."
There really is no clear understanding of what a miracle actually may be, unless, it is announced as one either by the person who has witnessed the event, or the person who has experienced the event!
I remember I was working at Baptist Hospital East while attending Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. It was my first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, and I was working the Emergency Room for the very first time. I had never spent much time in a setting like this, and so, I did a lot of listening, and learning from the nursing staff and doctors.
It had been a full-moon weekend, and I was on my third straight day of being on call. I had witnessed a number of things, and I thought I was "getting this chaplaincy thing" down.
I had been with doctors as they shared good and bad news with people. I had prayed, and been received well, and I felt confident as I dotted every "i" and crossed every "t" in the chart.
By the way, miracle stories often include an "and then" statement, because that denotes that there was a change. A fairly young man, in his late 50's had suffered a major heart attack while on the roof of his home. The family could not get him off the roof, and by the time that EMT's arrived, the man had been on the roof for nearly 20 minutes, with his son's taking turns giving him CPR. It took another 15 minutes to figure out how to get him off the roof, into the ambulance, and another 20 to get him to the hospital. The whole idea of saving his life seemed to have mountain after mountain to climb.
As the doctors and staff listened to what was happening, as each moment was transmitted to the hospital, one of the doctors approached me with a plan, stating that the family would be immediately taken into a private room, and that I was to remain with them.
Everyone arrived, and a small room with about eight chairs suddenly had 15 people. The young men who had provided the effort to save their father's life were covered in sweat and I had water brought in. Within the next twenty minutes, one of the nurses asked me to step out where she informed me that the doctor wanted me to prepare the family for bad news as it was not looking good.
I walked back in and looked at the wife. She looked at me and asked me to not say a word. If I was coming in to tell her that her husband was dying, she didn't want to hear it, and followed it up with, "Don't box in my God."
She called everyone together and all joined hands. The next thing I knew, I was in a family circle, and this woman was boldly praying to God, and each child was assuring their mother, with words of praise. I was in the midst of a group of people that were looking to God for a miracle.
The husband survived the night, and then a few days. They moved him into ICU, where he remained on a ventilator and in a coma for weeks.
It was in my last week of Clinical Pastoral Education when I was paged to the ICU. This patient's wife was wanting to see me. I had seen her often in the cafeteria and the answer to how her husband was doing was the same, "no change."
It had been decided he would be discharged to a long-term facility.
As I walked into the room, I could see cards covering every inch of the wall, balloons in various states of life, and pictures of family members. This had become home to his wife, who remained by his side each day.
I knocked on the door, and she invited me in. As I opened the door, I noticed something different. Her husband was sitting up and was looking at me! Although very weak, he reached out and took my hand in an effort to shake it. "Honey, this is the chaplain that you taught what a real miracle looks like."
I had to keep tears from overwhelming me.
It would be months later that I received a card from the family. I had graduated from seminary and moved to Texas where I was serving my first congregation in Alvin. She had contacted the seminary to locate me. In the card, a photo of the patient with his family returning home!
Not every miracle includes a life or death situation, a miracle is a miracle, is a miracle. You get the point.
The still small voice, prompting you to stop somewhere, only to realize five minutes later when you are back on the road, an accident has happened and you note that had you been on the road at that time, YOU would have been involved.
When you pray for an answer, or guidance, and there seems to be an overwhelming number of "coincidences" that cause you to have your eyes opened... what do you claim as the reason?
Miracles exist each day, if that is what you seek. Sharing the event with others validates the event, and causes others to begin looking at the world in a different way.
Hoping you see the miracles of God each day as you remain in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear God, I know I often look to You in prayer for many things, but may I learn to see what You are doing just not as a blessing, but as the miracle that it truly is! Thank you! Amen.
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.