We’ll Start Seeing More Miracles When . . .

flash-1043778_640It had been a long time since he’d seen a miracle.

You could just tell. It was the way he held back. Placed his cards on the table slowly – studying you through narrowed eyes between each reveal. Gauging your reaction to his story.

Like a game of chicken, you kept the cards coming by not flinching. Not at the alcohol. Not at the drugs. Not at the abuse. Not at the jail time. Same as stalking a deer it is, this ministry of fishing for men, where the skill of holding very still for long stretches buys you more time in the open, greater opportunity to draw trust out from the deep soul-pockets into which it’s been shoved.

“I’ve made a career out of disappointing people,” he says. “I’ve been in lots of programs. They don’t usually work, you know?”

You nod. You do know.

“I get frustrated. I blow off at people or tell them they’re wasting their time. They don’t stick around long. Always send me on to the next program. Then, I’m still here, dealing with my kid with no help, you know? I’m all he’s got. The state lady tells me I’m doing it wrong but no one else knows how to do it either. At least, I’m trying to figure it out. That should count for something.”

“It does,” you reply.

“My kid, though, he doesn’t need someone who gives up fast. He – well, we – need the kind of help that will stick around until we figure this out. We don’t have easy problems. I don’t expect miracles but . . .”

He doesn’t expect miracles, no, but he does need one. And you have to decide about investing in a situation with little hope of success.

You think about the file in your hand. Family case history. The notes from the last program that closed because the family wasn’t responding to interventions quickly enough. You read between the lines – they got out before the family failed big enough to mess with their statistics. The family was high risk. Not unsafe enough to be dissolved just always walking the high wire. Rats always abandon a sinking ship and there are programs that model themselves after these rats. You can’t judge them, too hard. Resources are dispensed based on success so everyone invests based on the numbers

But that’s why no one sees miracles anymore.

We stake everything on the numbers. We only play games where the odds are stacked in our favor. No one wants to call it wrong. No one wants to stick their necks out for the long shot. Failure hurts – personally and statistically. You know. You’ve faced it many times

But you’ve also seen miracles. Lives changed. Families healed. Marriages repaired. Prodigals turned around and strays taken home.

You used to wonder why God let you see miracles when others don’t. You’re starting to understand it’s because others worry too much about getting it wrong, about messing with their stats, about trying to pick winners. Others call the “game” before the final play. They’re smugly warm in their cars beating the traffic so they miss the miracle throw that turns it all around. If they worried less about being right, less about being smarter than the rest, and more about being like Jesus – they’d see miracles, too.

Don’t you think people talked about Jesus behind His back because He let Judas get so close? Judas was pilfering money. Others had to know. And here was this guy, claiming to be God, claiming to know people, but right in his inner circle was a guy with serious issues. And you know what? They turned out to be right and Jesus paid the price for counting Judas among the twelve.

But Jesus never worried about being right. He focused on being like His Father.

Jesus invested time and energy in people who were long shots – sinners, failures, screw-ups, disappointments, repeat offenders, habitual bad choice makers, deniers, and betrayers because His Father had sent Him to give everything to save them.

He wasn’t worried about being right. He wasn’t worried about padding the stats on numbers of people He was able to turn around. Jesus didn’t care if people thought He was blind to Judas’ shortcomings. He didn’t care what it said about Him as a leader that He allowed Judas into His inner circle. Jesus didn’t care what others thought of His choice of disciples – He cared about His disciples.

When we take our eyes off the numbers. When we resolve to be like Jesus. When we’re willing to love someone who might never turn around, who may disappoint us forever, who may break our hearts and betray us in front of others – when we forget about being right and focus on being like Jesus –

We’ll all start seeing more miracles, too, baby.

Kingdom building – fishing for men – these are activities for men and women who gave up the numbers game the day they buried their own lives in Jesus Christ. We don’t love winning. We don’t love being right. We don’t love the pride that comes with always choosing winners. We love Jesus and we love those Jesus loves.

Jesus loved long shots. Jesus invested in people others condemned. Jesus loved Judas so well the disciples didn’t know which one of them was the betrayer until it happened. That’s the stuff of miracles, baby, that’s the stuff.


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13 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Cindy Phiffer says:

    Thank you for speaking directly to my heart with this one. Thank you for speaking for the broken. Thank you for your compassion. Man, oh man. Just thank you.

  2. Thanks Lori. Good, thought-provoking stuff.

  3. “Jesus didn’t care what others thought of His choice of disciples – He cared about His disciples.”
    This. I. Needed. THIS today. Thank you.

  4. Forget about being right? Hey, you’re talking to an oldest daughter here – this is DIFFICULT! Thanks, Lori, for making me THINK!

  5. Wow, another powerful post, Lori. You always speak truth straight to my heart…even at those times when I don’t want to hear it. Thank you!

  6. Cathy Chung says:

    You’re a gift Lori. You’re willing to reach a hand out to those in the pit and you hold on for dear life.

  7. Mary Felkins says:

    I love the message here of caring for the person, pursing the relationship, that which is invisible – which is ultimately of eternal value. You share thoughts kindred to my own 🙂

    This statement resonates with my heart for the lost: “When we’re willing to love someone who might never turn around, who may disappoint us forever, who may break our hearts and betray us in front of others – when we forget about being right and focus on being like Jesus –

  8. I’m not overly upset because we don’t see miracles in hospital programs and state-run rehabs. Of course God can show up anywhere and we’ll have a miracle. What upsets me more is that miracles are not happening in the church. I think it’s for all the reasons stated in your article. We don’t want to get our hands dirty.

  9. Katharine says:

    And yet, there came a time when Jesus did not hang on to him and say, “No, don’t go,” but instead was forced to say, “That thou doest, do quickly.”

    I’ve had to let one go before, and the soul-searching is never-ending. Part of the price of hanging on, I suppose…

  10. Jann B. says:

    EXCELLENT article, as usual, Lori!
    Thank you for opening your heart to Yeshua Messiah and sharing His love.

  11. Lori Hatcher says:

    Amen and amen. We’re teetering on the line between playing it safe and jumping in, and I already know which way we’re going to go. Just need a minute or two to take a deep breath. Thanks for the nudge, sister.