Believers attribute everything to God, and non-believers attribute everything to coincidence. I often wonder how two people can witness the same experience and come up with totally different explanations.
My mother and father instilled faith in us from the time that we were little. We always had family prayer, and we had conversations about how the Lord had blessed us. So I grew up looking for miracles. If we were in a drought situation, we fasted and prayed, and it wasn’t long before it rained and filled the tanks for the cattle and the range started to green up.
One summer was drier than usual and the winter was well underway, and we hadn’t received any moisture. January and February went by without even a flake of snow. Our church decided to fast and pray for moisture; even the children decided to join the plea for precipitation. Their heartfelt prayer brought tears to your eyes. “Please Heavenly Father, we need some moisture so the flowers can grow. Please let it snow so the animals won’t die.”
The very next day, the sky turned gray and fleecy flakes filled the sky. Soon in the mountain regions there was three to four feet of snow. The weatherman hadn’t predicted it, but it was there, white and beautiful. It was an unquestioned answer to a child’s prayer.
Of course the skeptics said, “It would have happened anyway.” Perhaps it would have, but it hadn’t before, and the timing was perfect to build faith in the believer.
The miracles in my life didn’t always have to do with the weather. Sometimes faith is built by asking the Lord for an answer and waiting patiently for Him to respond.
Early one morning, I asked the Lord for my spiritual experience. A spiritual experience is when the infinite reaches out and touches with unmistakable love. You know it is divine because there is no way you could have created the feeling of love in yourself. It washes over you with unexplainable joy.
All day I waited for the Lord to answer my prayer. I was a little disappointed as the day wore on, but asking in faith has nothing to do with doubt, so I pushed the doubtful inclinations from my mind and continued to wait. When the sun started to slant in the sky, I went jogging. At that time I could jog-walk about eight miles. I usually went out into the trees across country on a two-track road. In the solitude, I meditated and sorted out my world. I took stock of, “what I have and what I haven’t” (Remember, Annie Get Your Gun?). That day, I had jogged about three miles out.
Troubled, I slowed my jog to a walk. I climbed a little hill, meditating on the disappointment of my unanswered morning prayer. Off in the distance, I noticed something black flapping in the wind on a cedar tree. Curious, I moved toward it.
As I approached, I could see it was a live crow hanging from the tree. I immediately became furious at the person who had tied the animal in a tree to die. People can be so cruel!
I hurried my steps and reached the tree. My anger subsided as I realized that the crow had tangled himself in the predicament. A plastic six-pack-holder had blown into the tree, and the curious bird had tangled both feet and one wing in the plastic and was frantically trying to free himself by flapping and flailing in the wind. I knew the only hope the bird had was for me to help him, but I also know that wild animals can be viscous. A crow’s talons and beak can be dangerous even to a Good Samaritan.
I reached out carefully and clasped my hands around the black wings. To my surprise and delight, the bird stopped struggling and rested quietly in my hands until I freed his feet. When he was free, I set him on my arm. To my amazement, he rested there for a moment like a tame parrot before he tested his wings for freedom. He flapped his wings and lifted off into the sky.
As I watched him soar against the clear blue of the sky with the setting sun shimmering on his black wings in the fading sunlight, tears unexpectedly slid down my cheeks. I envied his freedom. I wished I could fly like that! Then my awaited answer came. I was free! I could soar in spiritual heavens because Christ spent time on the cross for me.
He paid for my stupidity and sinful nature, and I was free to walk in newness of life. He had also freed me from the prison of the grave. Death would spring into new life, and I would live again after I died. I would see my loved ones again. What a glorious blessing! The wave of warmth and joy swept over me. I didn’t create the divine feeling of love. It came as an answer to my prayer.
Would the crow still have been caught in the tree, if I hadn’t prayed? Probably. Would I have found him on my jog? Possibly, but because I was praying and asking for a miracle of divine love, I was ready to hear and feel the answer that came. That would not have happened if I had not had faith and believed that the answer would come.
Once I had a dog, a German Shepherd, named Duke. I loved that dog, but Duke turned wild and started to attack the animals. He ripped the ear on one of the calves, so my parents knew they couldn’t have him around. I heard the conversation about the execution, and my heart sunk in sorrow.
I went to my room and knelt by my bed and pled with all the energy of a 10-year-old heart, “Please don’t let them kill Duke. He has been my friend. Have somebody take him away, but don’t let them kill him.”
I had no more than gotten up from my knees when the phone rang. It was my Uncle Cyril. He wanted to know where he could find a German Shepherd dog like ours. Mom said, “We are getting rid of this one. If you want him, come and get him.” To my parents’ surprise, he came and took my dog away.
Non-believers would say, “Aw, that would have happened anyway! The uncle had to be thinking about it long before he called. It was a coincidence! My childlike faith even today, tells me the timing was too perfect. It was a miracle sent in answer to a little girl’s prayer.
There was another time I witnessed a miracle. Our principal at our school had passed away. We wanted to do something special for the family. We decided to make a plaque for the widow and present it to her at the funeral. I wrote a poem and went to the awards place 30 miles away to have it engraved.
“When do you need it?” the awards proprietor asked.
“The funeral is tomorrow morning at 10,” I said. “I will pick it up around nine.” He looked at me and said, “There is no way we can get it done by then. Sometimes we have to start over as many as five times. If we make a mistake in the engraving we have to start over.” (This was before the time of computer engraving).
I knew we must have the plaque. So I said, “Please, will you try?”
He agreed and said, “If I call you in the morning, don’t come.”
I went to my car and through my tears, I prayed fervently that the Lord would intervene. The answer entered my mind, “He will get it done, and he will say that it was the easiest job they had ever done.”
I went home and trusted the Lord had answered my prayer.
The awards proprietor did not call the next morning. I drove to the shop, and he handed me the completed plaque. I ran my finger over the finished elegance and expressed my thanks and the proprietor said, “We were glad to do it. It was one of the easiest jobs we have ever done.” A feeling of divine love swept over me. I knew that God had answered my prayer completely and exactly.
The skeptic would say, “That is just a coincidence! That didn’t really happen! She is just making it up.” It really doesn’t matter what the skeptic thinks; my heart was filled with gratitude for an answered prayer. Even today, I feel the Lord’s love and He still answers my prayers, and He answers the prayers of everyone who believes.
The irony of the situation is that the skeptic doesn’t realize the Lord loves him or her, too. God doesn’t love the believer any more than He does the skeptic. We are all his children.
Whether we check in with God or not makes no difference to Him. He intervenes in the skeptics’ lives many times, but because of unbelief, they will always see God’s love as coincidence, not as a miracle, and the believer will always see the miracle. PD