My miracle didn’t come. The miracle I wanted was for my brother to be healed in body, mind and spirit. My miracle was for God to heal his disease and let him walk out of the hospital with a new lease on life and a new heart. My miracle was for my brother to arise – like Lazarus – and walk out his many more years on this earth doing ministry with me.
In fact, a couple of days before Zach went into the hospital, I met him for lunch. That morning before we met in my morning devotion, I read from the gospel of John the story of Lazarus’ resurrection. In verse 11:23 Jesus comforts a pleading Martha by saying, “Your brother will rise again.”
At lunch that Tuesday afternoon I shared with Zach what I had read. He shared with me that He had prayed to God, about a week prior, a prayer like had never prayed before. It was a prayer of surrender. It was a prayer of laying it all down at the foot of the cross. “You have risen again, like Lazarus.” I said to him.
The miracle I had my sights set on was healing in his physical body – that in my mind would enable him to work alongside of me – like old times – except now in ministry. Together we would bring hope to the nations. Together, shoulder to shoulder, we would share our message of transformed lives. We would share the message of healing and restored relationships and the defeat of every kind of addiction.
You see, the miracle I hoped for and clung was based on my own earthly understanding. My miracle was based on my longings and desires of my own heart, instead of the greater miracle that Jesus went on to explain to Martha in John 11:24-25, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
My brother placed his life in the hands of Jesus. Even though he died, he lives because he believed.
MIRACLE. It is THE miracle.
Even though we die, we live through faith in Jesus Christ.
Two weeks after this lunchtime conversation I sat by Zach’s hospital bed in the ICU and read the story of Lazarus to him. I have never felt such deep sorrow and hope at the same time in my life. The feeling of knowing that your loved one will be resurrected into new life with a new body, no more pain, sickness or struggle, yet deeply grieved by the loss. The loss runs deeper than the physical loss, it runs into my hopes for the future, my hopes of what could be if God chose to heal him. The loss and sorrow run to my hurt for my parents and watching them grieve their son. The hurt is simply indescribable.
But there in the quiet of the room, only the sound of the ventilator breathing in and out, a balm of peace filled the room. I reached out and grabbed Zach’s arm. “You will rise again whether in this life or in heaven, this I know for sure.”
Two weeks ago, today my brother journeyed from this life into his eternal life, a life he will spend with Jesus. God in his goodness allowed this miracle to happen – a life saved by grace. After years of wandering another prodigal son was brought home.
Perhaps you have heard the song, Reckless Love? This song speaks of how the good shepherd will leave the ninety-nine sheep to go after the ONE who is lost. I am so grateful to God that he relentlessly pursues of our souls. I am grateful that he never gave up on the ONE. I was the ONE. My brother was the ONE. You are the ONE.
I encourage you today to get lost in His love for you and rejoice with me that though there is deep pain and sadness God is bringing resurrection and life to all those who believe in him whether in this life or into eternity. Recognize the miracle – you are the ONE – and you are worth leaving behind the ninety-nine. Salvation is THE miracle.
I leave you today with one final thought. What will you do when your miracle doesn’t come? How will you respond when the hopes you have don’t pan out as you thought they would, or the hurt seems too much to bear? Will you still trust Him? Will you still believe that God is good?
I have provided a link to the song, Reckless Love. Cory Asbury tells the “why” behind the song. I know you will be blessed by it.