I’ve been thinking about miracles lately. Sometimes I get in a spiritual funk, a period of minutes or hours or days in which I rant and rave a little bit at God. Such was the case last week, when I learned that a former colleague has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. It’s terminal. With chemo, he has maybe 12 months.
“But God can still do a miracle, right?” Rowan asks, when he hears me pray for this friend. “Yes,” I answer Rowan. “God can still do a miracle.” I hesitate, but I feel compelled to say more. “Sometimes, though, he chooses to take someone to Heaven right away,” I add. “Sometimes he chooses not to do the miracle.”
That’s when I get mad. “So where are our miracles?” I ask God later, as I push a sodden mop over the wood floor. I remember the loaves and fishes, Lazarus and the blind man, and the paralyzed guy who’s lowered through the roof on a mat, and I think, “Why so many miracles back then, why so many miracles in the Bible, and none now?”
Later, after my conversation with Rowan and my subsequent rant at God, Brad comes upstairs while I’m reading in bed. He’s just gotten off the phone with his brother, Cary. “They were out for their anniversary dinner, that’s why he didn’t answer before,” he mentions. I’m confused for a second. Anniversary? Cary and Vanessa’s anniversary is in October; it’s the middle of January right now. And that’s when Brad reminds me: Cary is celebrating his ten-year anniversary. Ten years since he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Ten years since he was given a 30 percent chance of survival. Ten years cancer-free.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember exactly what we were doing when the phone rang, Cary calling with the news of his test results. We’d been eating baked chicken and potatoes at the dining room table. After Brad hung up the phone, after we’d stood in the kitchen and cried, Noah still strapped into his high chair, I slid the half-eaten chicken off the dinner plates and into the trash can.
As I sit with my book face-down on my lap, Brad standing at the foot of the bed, I think about these ten years that have passed. And I know that each of these years, and every one of these days, is a miracle. For Cary. For his family. For all of us.
What do you think about miracles? Do you think they happen in the here and now? Have you ever experienced a miracle yourself?