How often in our lives have we uttered the phrase “what are the odds of that?” Life is often filled with these situations. Some call it coincidence, some say luck, and other attribute them to ordinary everyday miracles. Time and chance happen to us all, but perhaps we are too quick to dismiss some ordinary miracles in our lives as simple ‘luck.’
I, like many, get discouraged at times with the lack of extraordinary miracles today. While you still hear stories of big things now and again, in day to day life it is uncommon for most to experience what they perceive to be God’s major intervention.
You have probably heard sayings or stories about how we don’t ever see what miracles happen behind the scenes without our knowledge. For instance, we may be frustrated when our car doesn’t start right away, but later find out that there was a 20-car pileup on the road we would have been on at the time of the accident. While it is absolutely true that God works in our lives in ways we never see, that is harder to grasp - an intangible ‘what if.’ Sometimes we need to see miracles in our lives - even the small ones.
The trouble is that the human brain can be so smart that it’s dumb. We seemingly must know the how and why of everything that happens in our lives. All too often we dismiss what could well be a small miracle (if there is a way to quantify or gauge the size of one) as a coincidence, luck, or simply feel satisfied with what WE did to bring about the result.
I remember a few of these times in my life. Some situations we can readily see God’s hand in, while others take some faith and are a conscious choice. When I was a young lad of about 13, I remember sitting together with my parents for a late dinner. My sister (17 at the time) was out with friends and was several hours late with no means of communication. (There was a time not long ago when teenagers did not have cell phones!). In the prayer over the meal, a request was made that God would protect my sister and that she would return home quickly. As soon as the word “quickly” was spoken, we heard the front door open. We all smiled, and said a quick “thank You” before finishing the prayer. I choose to count this as an ordinary miracle.
What prompted me to think about these was a more recent event. Several months ago I was walking through the woods as is my custom. I got lost and found a nice trail where I was able to have a good emotional/spiritual moment. In a therapeutic endeavor I found a stick and symbolically placed all the issues I was dealing with onto it and chucked it as hard as I could into the woods. Our marvelous minds were made the interesting ability to connect an emotional or spiritual connection with a physical place or time. We can walk into a house, hear a song, or experience some other sensory snapshot and be filled with the emotional response that we initially had. I had been hoping to find that trail since that day and reconnect with that time and place, but wasn’t able to. While walking today, I had finally decided to not worry about it and just enjoy the walk for what it was. Just as I decided that, I looked up and I was at the start of the trail! There are several miles of trails in the area, and I got lost in the right part at an interesting time. This may seem small, but I count it as a small little miracle, and something that will hopefully help me remember to not worry as much.
We all have to discern things in our lives, and some things are just happenstance. However, other things may well have God’s hand in them if you look for it. If you see a butterfly float by you randomly, it could just be chance, but if you were affected by it in a deep and timely way, maybe there was something intentional about it. Either way, I believe we all could benefit from being thankful to God for how things work out because He is in control and has our best interest in mind, as we’re told in Romans 8:28.
It is my goal moving forward to write down every instance where I feel God has intervened in a way that is even slightly visible to my limited human eyes and comprehension. Many of these could probably be shrugged off as coincidence, but I will choose to count them as ordinary miracles. I recommend the same, and hopefully in time this list will serve to remind us both of of God’s active part in our lives, and how thankful we should be that God works things for our ultimate good.