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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Miracle ground

The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle. (Johanna Hannah Arendt) 

I would like us to consider the words of this Jewish-American theorist today because her thoughts here are quite telling. Many of us are looking for the "new" - we hope for something just a little different than what we have, or perhaps a totally new "make over" so the old is out and the new is in. Yet, if we stop to consider how the new comes, we might just be surprised by the realization of the new coming because somehow the odds stacked against it ever coming to fruition were overcome! I have hibiscus plants in the back yard. Those flowers don't last long, but they open into magnificently large orange, red, and yellow flowers, providing much folly for the hummingbirds who feed upon them and enjoyment for the ones who get to behold their beauty for even a little while. The buds forming on these plants endure the cold nights these days, and the subtle warm up of the midday sun - then one day, they bloom in all their magnificence. The most magnificent of things may come out of the hardest seasons of growth and the most difficult of circumstances!

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by.  Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none. (Isaiah 43:18-19 VOICE)

It is very easy to continually celebrate our past victories, but kind of limiting in ever moving us into places where we will be ready and able to celebrate new ones! As with the hibiscus plant in my yard, the old needs to drop off in order for the new to bloom forth. Those buds that have opened, showing their vibrant radiance amidst the dark green of the surround leaves will eventually wither and close in upon themselves. They aren't the thing I will observe forever - for those buds will wither and fall away, almost unnoticed, making way for new growth and even more vibrant radiance to come. As Arendt said, the "new always appears in the guise of a miracle." What man thinks impossible in your life today, God sees as "miracle potential", my friend! Don't settle for only celebrating the past moments of beauty and glory - look at the hope of the new blossoms about to emerge where none have ever been before!

God prepares the way - we just have to be attentive to his power being displayed around us. As I go into the garden, I often pluck off the withered blooms, turning them over into the soil beneath the plant, allowing even that which seems to not have a purpose any longer to serve a new purpose. God often uses the past victories as stepping stones or building blocks for the next victories he is preparing. Keep in mind, with God what seems impossible to man is really only the canvas upon which the next victories will be celebrated! I learned this past week of a young mother's passing, leaving behind her husband and child. She was no older than my own dear daughter, and her child was younger than my grandsons. Yet, as my daughter and I talked a little about this woman's last several years on this earth, she said something to me that gave hope of a newness coming even from this very hard place in their lives. You see, the couple had been going through difficulties in their marriage, but of late, God had been doing a tremendous work of restoration and rebuilding of their love and trust. The end was even more radiant than the beginning! God sees "miracle ground" in the hardest of soil and the toughest of "growing climates", my friends! Now, they face a new time of rebuilding - without her. Yet, I know with a confidence that God will use what seems quite hard right now as a place to bring even more radiant beauty into the lives of those who remain.

We may never know completely when the thing God is just about to do will be the thing some see as coming from the driest and hardest "miracle ground" in our lives, but when the conditions are right, God will bring forth that which we will celebrate! It may not seem like it right now, but the present hardship - that desert place - makes great ground for God to display his miracle power! Just sayin!