The Aftermath of a Miracle (Is Harder Than You Think)
What do you do in the aftermath of a miracle?
We all think about what kind of miracle we’d like to see happen in our lives—a winning lottery ticket, our team going all the way to the Final Four in March Madness, our political discourse regaining civility and sense. (I’ll give you three guesses as to which one of those is the farthest-fetched).
Many times our longing for a miracle is far more serious—for a loved one’s cancer to go into remission, for a job to come through after months of fruitless interviews, for an estranged child to come home for the holidays.
There are times God does do miracles this big in our lives—most of us can think of an example in our own lives or someone we know.
Sometimes the miracles are as simple as escaping a close call in traffic.
But it’s also really important to think about miracles far more broadly than actual supernatural events.
Sometimes we don’t get the miracle we prayed for, but we get the miracle we need.
Perhaps the miracle we prayed was for the cancer to go into remission, but the miracle we received was entering into an incredible new depth of relationship with our loved one through the process of caregiving as his or her health declined.
Perhaps the miracle we prayed for was for that job interview to pan out, but the miracle we received was a new understanding of our family’s ability to pull together in tough economic times.
Perhaps the miracle we prayed for was a reunion with an estranged child, but the miracle we received was a new ministry of intercessory prayer, as our faithful and sometimes anguished prayers for this lost and wandering loved one expand into a vocation of praying for all those who are lonely and in pain.
The first question to ask is this: where you need a miracle in your life?
And the second question to ask is this: where in your life is God giving you the miracle you need rather than the miracle you want? Take some time to pray about that this week.
But the real question I want to tackle in this sermon is this: what do you do in the aftermath of a miracle?
I think we often picture miracles as creating happily-ever-after scenarios where everyone rides off into the sunset together holding hands and singing Kum-Bah-Yah.
But the reality is quite different, as we see vividly illustrated in our gospel story.
For the man born blind whom Jesus heals in our gospel today, his miracle brings him nothing but trouble. Continue reading