The last time you said something was a miracle you probably said it tongue in cheek. A package arrives from the Post Office unbroken and on time and you say, “It’s a Christmas miracle!”
Then there are the stories of the friend of a friend who was diagnosed with cancer but when they went in for tests before surgery there was no evidence of cancer at all. Someone calls it a miracle and you want to believe it.
Some people seem to see miracles all around. Then there are people like me, who are skeptical of the easy claims.
When Jesus performed miracles he left no doubt. Water that instantly became wine. A man dead for 4 days called out of the tomb alive. The lame immediately got up and walked. In a time with only word of mouth to tell these stories, word traveled quickly. Jesus was a man of miracles. Crowds loved it, religious leaders not so much.
Are miracles happening today? How do we identify them?
My interpretation of these amazing transformations has changed. I have not been witness to an immediate healing. Much as I’ve prayed, I haven’t seen a parent healed from diabetes or dementia. I’ve not seen loved ones who wanted to be parents be blessed with a pregnancy.
The miracles I see are so ordinary they go unnoticed to all but a few. They don’t fit the definition of the word but I am choosing to see grace and redemption as everyday miracles.
Last weekend was our annual retreat. We gathered with other ARC’s from around FL for a weekend of sports, music, Bible teaching, more food and far too little sleep.
Our group was led by a man who lost his chance to play college baseball when his addiction was greater than his talent. Today he’s over 3 years clean and sober and is a leader of others.
We handed the keys to one of the vans to another man who was lost in his addiction complicated by his shame over who he was. It was a difficult struggle as he found his identity in Christ as a gay man and now celebrates 4 years of sobriety. He’s the manager of one of our top producing Family Stores. He attends our weekly chapel services and another example of redemption and grace.
On the sidelines of a volleyball game, Jack enveloped me in his strong arms as he said: “thank you for everything“. He graduated earlier this year and left the next day to clear up legal problems from his past. He turned himself in on outstanding charges in another state and found himself serving 30 days in jail. Then he left to yet another state prepared to do the same thing. He had a letter from his counselor from our ARC. When the judge read the letter he dismissed the charges and told Jack to go back where these people are and keep doing what you’re doing. YES! That’s a miracle! These are MIRACLES!
There is a lot the Salvation Army does that goes unnoticed. One of those areas of service is in the Adult Rehabilitation Centers. (ARC) That has been our specific area of ministry for the last 14 years. We are in the business of miracles.
Join me throughout the month of May as I’ll be writing about The Salvation Army: who they are, what they do and how it all started. Let me know if you have specific questions and I’ll do my best to answer.