Believe in miracles
“Stop waiting for a miracle and participate in one instead.”
Barbara Brown Taylor
Do you believe that God is active in the world today? Even intervening with supernatural results at times? One time I left a hospital room with the first words of a eulogy in my mind, only to receive a call the next morning that the person was having a cup of coffee and telling jokes to all the nurses. The doctors had all but signed his death certificate, but God surprised with a miracle. I have also pleaded for others and no miracle occurred. Often we are disappointed and cannot understand God’s Providence. For centuries, intellectuals (even some theologians) have used reason and disbelievers their eyes to debunk the mysteries of God and the power of grace. Arrogance is thinking one knows the mind and heart of God. Love transcends reason. The reality is that God is working miracles so tiny, daily we miss them, and so grand, it will take lifetimes to fully understand them.
Recently, I read once again The Wedding of Cana miracle story. A light bulb went off. I was invited behind the scenes of God at work. Jesus has the starring role, but the supporting roles of Mary, the servants, the Head Steward, the bride and groom and wedding guests, Jesus’ disciples, and of course the wondrous prop of water, all give us clues of just how we might be witness to more miracles, even participate in one or two!
Weddings were significant events in the ancient world. People traveled great distances and enjoyed the nuptial festivities for weeks. Scholars assume that this was a wedding of either a family member or close friend of Jesus and his family. Mary, the mother of Jesus, steps in as ancient “wedding planner.” You can just imagine her surveying the sumptuous banquet table of olives, jars of honey, fresh bread, cornucopias of fruit and rosemary-roasted lamb, freshening the arrangement of spring lilies on the bridal table, and then checking in on the reserves of wine. To her dismay, she finds the wineskins are dry. Today, like in Cana, no wine means no party. Quickly, Mary goes to her son for help. At first, Jesus appears unmoved by her plight. Mary, knowing who her son to be, is not deterred, and simply turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever my son tells you.” She doesn’t doubt for a second that God will act. Immediately, Jesus instructs the servants of the host to fill six stone jars, ones normally reserved for purification rituals, with water. Just for reference those jugs could hold 180 gallons of water. Back in the day, there were no running faucets. You had to go back and forth to the well. I imagine those servants got quite the work out filling those jars to the rim. Next, Jesus instructs one of the servants to draw some water out from one of the jars and take it to the Head Steward for tasting. Could this be the origination of the modern-day sommelier? Anyway, the Steward has no idea what has just transpired below deck. However, the moment the wine touches his lips—-he knows he’s just tasted something otherworldly. Those six 180-gallon jugs of water miraculously turned into superior wine.
I imagine that servant turning on his heel with the biggest smile on his face. He knew he had just been a part of a miracle! The host and the wedding guests never knew what transpired that day, only that their chalices were once again filled and the good times would continue to roll. How many miracles do we miss? The disciples knew the significance of Jesus’ action. Something transcendent had occurred. They left that wedding in Cana with an emboldened faith.
What do you do when the wine has metaphorically run out in your life? Maybe you signed divorce papers; your dad received a terrible health diagnosis; you buried a friend too soon; you have lost your way; your teen child is on the wrong path.
I believe the Wedding at Cana shows us that God is not limited to the miracles with fireworks or at dire moments like returning sight to the blind or bringing the dead back to life. God is just as committed and actively redeeming the simple and ordinary details of our lives. You and I have a blanket invitation to ask God for anything. Nothing is too small or insignificant. We have to speak up! Like Mary, tell God what you need. Be patient. Expect a good outcome. Believe that God does not want us to walk around broken, empty and joyless. He likes a celebration. St. Irenaeus said it best: “the glory of God is a human being fully alive.” Know that God is a transformer. The plot of your life is for good. The timing may not be yours, but His Creativity is worth the wait. Open your soul’s eyes and start noticing where and how God is working all things together for good.
“The “A-ha” moment for me in the story is the servants who rushed to do Jesus’ bidding. Servant-hearts usually get the best seats at a miracle! Without knowing it you and I could be those sweet hands and feet serving at the next miracle without any awareness of our roles. Let’s put our heads down now and live, love, forgive, serve, hope and pray always. One day the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. Metaphorically, the day is promised when we may take a sip of water turned into wine and be gifted with our own glimpse of grace.
Reflect on Psalm 139:
Lord, you have examined me and know me,
You know everything about me.
You are familiar with my paths.
You have kept close watch over me.
Such knowledge is beyond my understanding.
Examine me and know my thoughts,
test me and understand my fears.
Guide me in the ancient and