Needing a Miracle

Flynn doesn’t have his homework. It’s time to head for school. Science fair topics are due today. Eureka! Perched on the antenna of Dad’s Camaro rests a magnificent blue dasher dragonfly.

“It’s a miracle!” the kid exclaims. “I can catch the dragonfly for my homework!”

“What? Flynn, you don’t have you homework, again? That’s ludicrous! You were up till midnight!”

But if this dragonfly is not a miracle, then what is?

Most folks agree a miracle happened January 15, 2009 when Chelsy Sullenburger’s plane, US Airways Flight 1549, hit a flock of Canadian geese forcing the pilot to land in the Hudson River. While rescue boats hurried to their aid, passengers waited on the wings. All survived. Headlines called it the “Miracle on the Hudson.”(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549)

Another serendipitous “coincidence” happened early one morning, September, 2005 when at the intersection of Bells Ferry Road and Highway 92 in Cherokee County, I stopped at the red light. Facing another seventy minute commute to Rome, GA on I-75, in frustration, I threw up my hands and cried, “God, there must be a teaching job closer to Woodstock.” Then wistfully I whispered, “Maybe it’s on this road.” I laughed when a principal called to schedule an interview. Out of 23 elementary schools in Cherokee County, hers happened to be on Bells Ferry Road. I taught at Liberty School for the next ten years.

And Ken, in 2011, experienced a supernatural wonder when his District Superintendent offered him the retired-supply pastor’s job at Holly Springs United Methodist Church. Ken could retire, draw full benefits, work part time, receive a salary and continue to preach while I completed my teaching career.

Scripture attributes many miracles, signs and wonders, to Jesus. First he turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana. As this wedding party peaked, the host ran out of drinks. Jesus however, at his mom’s request, changed 120 gallons of tasteless, odorless colorless water into 120 gallons of wine. After sampling the wine, the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said, “You have saved the best for last.” John 2: 1-11.

We all need our water turned into wine–whether by a eureka revelation, a serendipitous “coincidence,” an undeniable sign, or a supernatural wonder. When we can’t find our way without divine intervention, we pray for a miracle.

Prayer is an important part, but God also asks for childlike faith–wide-eyed expectancy and over-the-top gratitude. Then in ways we least expect, God comes to help us.

Is Flynn right, that the dragonfly resting on the antenna of Dad’s sports car is a miracle–especially when he has been irresponsible?

I suspect so. It’s called the miracle of grace.

Flynn and the Dragonfly @amazon.com

Book signing at Holly Springs UMC March 17th following worship at 11:00.

Remembering a special Christmas Story

The Christmas Pie

My friend Ross told me when he became middle-aged his life was a wreck. Divorced and depressed, he had stopped trying to lead a Christian life.

Ross kept odd hours, partied all the time, and did not care that his loud music disturbed the neighbors.

But Christmas was coming. For Ross it was the loneliest time of the year: no family, no feasts, no presents.

No amount of loud music could fill his emptiness.

Then just before Christmas, a knock came at his door. There stood an elderly neighbor  bearing a luscious chocolate pie.

She had ample reason to criticize and condemn him. Instead, she had baked him a pie. 

As Ross sliced through the warm filling, hope was born in his heart. Someone, he told himself, thinks I am worth saving. 

Ross returned  to church, to his faith and found a new way of living.

In time Ross married Carol, a beautiful Christian woman. Whether baking biscuits for Sunday School, harvesting hay or playing guitar in a blue grass band, his life was good.

“Every year at Christmas,” Ross concluded his story, “I remember with gratitude that wonderful Christian neighbor and her delicious chocolate pie.” 

Now hear the rest of the story.

Moved by Ross’s story, I submitted it to The Upper Room, a magazine distributed by the United Methodist Church.  They published the piece December 13th, 1996.

This month, twenty-two years later, I read that Ross was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame.

God loves us so much that he sent his only son with a wonderful message. Whoever follows me will find abundant and eternal life. –Jesus

Good tidings, great joy–what Christmas is all about. 

Coming soon Flynn and the Dragonfly–a book to help distracted kids come along and belong.