Last night was an incredibly challenging evening. It was one of those times when you say something and can see the words, like weapons, making their way through the air to cause injury. It is as if the moment the words are spoken, you know they were a mistake. But then, like a bullet leaving a gun, they cannot be stopped.
Have you ever done that — said something and wish you hadn’t?
Last night, the words I spoke caused such a rift, like a yawning canyon, between my wife and I. I wished I had remained silent. Sometimes, waiting to speak, pondering the words, sifting them within, and asking the question, “Need I speak those words?” is so much better. But instead, I spoke.
Who knows all the factors that added to it? We both had a very long, disappointing day. There was tension, exhaustion, emotion, stress, and misunderstanding clouding our ability to speak and hear, which make terrible bedfellows in conversation.
We ended up in a very long, convoluted conversation! And, by God’s grace, incredibly, we eventually found our way back to common ground. Both of us were careful while talking; we didn’t want to say something we would regret in the moment or the next morning.
We made it through. The air cleared between us.
When I opened my journal the next morning, it fell open to a page where I had written, weeks previous:
“God was there.”
There in that phrase written so long before was this wonderful affirmation, a shining truth I knew applied to the previous night’s conversation. God reached through the journal to speak a reminder I needed. God is involved in all those challenging moments in life!
His presence filled the room. There, with my journal on my lap, Jesus poured love into my heart, bringing peace and a washing of forgiveness through me. It was a tangible reminder of the sufficiency of grace and of how he came to restore me to full humanity, to Christlikeness. This is the experience of a type of miracle.
Recently, I came across this great quote by Timothy Keller, a Presbyterian pastor in NYC:
“We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that he has power but also wonderful foretastes of what he is going to do with that power. Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming…a world of peace and justice, without death, disease, or conflict.” – The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
This is what God did in my relationship with Karen last night – showed up so we could be restored to the fullness of what it looks like for Jesus to live through my life and hers. We got to become more like Jesus, meaning we became more human through hard conversations and forgiveness. The epitome of humanity is not seen in sin but in righteousness; it is not in becoming “unlike Jesus” but in becoming like Him.
So often the human response to sinfulness, to errors in judgment, to speaking hurtful words to one we claim to love, is the excuse: “Well, I’m only human.” Our humanity is best expressed is when it is exemplified by the fruit of God’s Spirit through that life. It is when love, joy, peace, patience, etc. are showing forth that our truest humanity is made known.
I think my favorite line from Keller’s quote is that “Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts…” The miracle accounts are all promises to our hearts of what CAN be. I love that assurance. What a way to view life, that God can show up and be THERE in every single circumstance, for us all to become what we were all meant to be. God will do that miracle in my life and yours as we come to Him and let Him work.
May this be your experience in the everyday miraculous work of God to make you more like Jesus.