It’s not easy to accept the possibility of miracles. Often we can barely trust God intervenes at all. Where does that leave the notion of providence? And of course, the big question: Why pray? No, it’s not good enough, to me, that prayer changes the one who prays, although I have experienced this many times. I ask God for more: more love, more help, more inner peace, sure. These seem easy.
But recently I beseeched God for providence of a physical, tangible kind: a job for someone nearly hopeless during his long unemployment, a longed-for pregnancy for a friend whose chances seemed poor, and remission for an old acquaintance with a rare cancer.
Today, all three became realities. With failure upon failure in the job search and the fertility and cancer treatments for so long, suddenly, here they were: employment, motherhood and health, whereas just yesterday, they were not. Of course, she was pregnant long before today’s blood test. And no doubt my friend’s lab results only confirmed what was already true yesterday. The man’s job offer was decided a few days ago before he got it in today’s email. At what moment did everything change?
Perhaps the miraculous has to do with the moment we recognize something has changed. Something has been created anew within us. And, what’s best of all, it is for us. We get to take it personally. We feel gratitude in that moment, and awe, grace, joy, reverence. We no longer feel the angst of the day before. “Joy cometh in the morning.”
While we are in the limbo of not-knowing, we stand in sacred, liminal space, between two realities. We live in transition between hope and reality, a womb of possibility. We do not begin to rejoice here. Something like ‘seeing is believing’ needs to happen; we need to be dawned upon. Our active engagement has to take place.
We have to become conscious of what is afoot, otherwise we must wait in faith, daring to hope, much less expect, something new of our God. Like, for example, Mary before Gabriel’s visitation: Advent. Like the Maccabees before the seemingly doomed but ultimately victorious spiritual renewal Jews call Hannukah.
We don’t know that we know, but we can hone our senses to trust in what will be.
Can I make room in myself for my not-knowing if God will love me into a new reality? If God will grant what I ask sometimes? Make the miraculous happen for me? I guess I can call that hope. Not only at this time of year, so important to Jews and Christians, but all year round and for people of other faiths (and none), people are living spiritually, meaning hopefully and trustingly. We live in the hope of touching into transcendence, which is truly…miraculous.