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.

What is Your Problem?

Everyone has one. Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, private, interpersonal, huge or small. Everyone has one because problems propel the stories of our lives forward.

Flynn’s problems squeeze him like quicksand. The teachers are hot on his trail. He’s missing lots of work. Flynn is about to fail fifth grade. His frazzled mother has given up and left home.

How do you react to such problems? You might confide in a friend, like Dash the dragonfly. You might work harder, pray harder–patiently move forward. Or you might get discouraged, grumble, complain and give up.

After pitching a bombastic tantrum, Flynn decides to be proactive. He’s gonna win that science fair, impress his teachers. He’s gonna bring his mom home and promote to middle school.

But some problems are much worse than failing 5th grade. The blind, the deaf, the lame, the poor, the paralytic brought their problems to Jesus. And he helped everyone. He healed the sick, raised the dead and gave them new lives.

Can Jesus solve our problems, too? Well, “…nothing is too hard for God,” says Jeremiah 32: 17. And Jesus taught the multitudes: Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open.

Then why do some problems hang around long after we pray, like droopy Christmas lights in February? That’s an essential part of our life stories, too. All of us are heroes on noble journeys to meet our goals, to reach our quests, to solve our problems….

But we rarely understand God’s timing. Sometimes he answers immediately. Sometimes He delays to demonstrate his mighty power. He is famous for waiting while we mature in faith, or while we gain deeper compassion for our fellow sufferers. He has other reasons beyond my comprehension, but while we wait we grow.

Flynn is well on his way to reaching his goal when he gets sidetracked with naughtiness. He needs to learn to listen to his conscience, and the voice of the Holy Spirit, especially when he is tempted to snitch the lake ranger’s canoe.

What can we learn from our problems? We can learn to trust God greater, to persevere longer, to surrender fully, to set a good example for those who are younger or weaker—to overcome temptation–and many other things.

Facing devastation and disaster, like all of us, Flynn reaches a black story moment when he listens to lies from the antagonist. “You are no good. You have fatal flaws. You might as well quit.” But through it all, God stays near, sprinkling him with good favor, pressing him onward.

What is your problem? Have you hit that black story moment when you are listening to the enemy rather than trusting God? Does the antagonist in your story suggest you are not worthy, that you should quit? That God has abandoned you?

Remember, the closer you come to reaching the end of your noble journey, the darker the night but the nearer the prize.

Flynn calls his mom and tells her he is going to fail 5th grade because he has lost his dragonfly, the main element in his science project. He doesn’t know what to do now.

Then she tells him, “Flynn, when you are ready you will find the way.” He needs to get his act together.

For Christians, one essential act we need to get together is written in Hebrews 11:6. “…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.”

Do you know that God is with you on your noble journey? And when you are ready to completely and diligently trust Him, you will find His peace that passes all understanding and grace to press forward…Or you will seize your noble prize and hold it in your hands. Problem solved!


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