Wednesday, March 27, 2013

God is God, Even When the Miracle Doesn't Come

photo by forest wander via creative commons

I heard the story of a miracle this week on the radio.

A man had called into the station, and shared about how his baby was born weeks and weeks premature.  How unlikely it was that she would survive.  How he and his wife and everyone they knew prayed and prayed -- and their daughter lived.  How good God is because he saved their baby.

I am so glad that these parents didn't have to learn what it feels like to have your baby die.  To watch her dwindle away into death (I am grateful that I don't know what that feels like either).  I am glad for their miracle.

But as I listened, tears welled up in my eyes.  Angry tears.

Their story, it seems to imply that God is only as good, only as big, as his miracles.

And that, I think, is simply not true.

God is good even when your baby dies.  God is faithful when you cradle her lifeless form in your arms for the one and only time in this life.  God is loving when grief and pain threaten to tear you apart, body and soul.

God is God, period.  And he is faithful. 

God is God when the cancer does not go into remission.

God is God when your marriage is dissolving around you.

God is God when depression takes over.

God is God when people kill other people.

God is God when debilitating pain lingers for years and years and years.

God is God when death visits suddenly.

God is God when the addiction always wins.

God is God when the life you thought you'd have is a mockery of the one you find yourself  battling through.

God is God when your body is breaking. When your heart is breaking.

God is God, and he is not limited by his miracles.

Because which is more miraculous: that God would deliver the miracle, or that God would heal our hearts when the miracle doesn't come?

It is miraculous to me that my soul is not splintered into a billion, billion pieces by the ravages of dysfunction, depression, disordered eating, and my daughter's death. 

It is a miracle that God would see my pain and care, and act.  Even if he didn't act to save my daughter. 

Even though I still have questions, even though it hurts and it hurts, my still-beating heart is the miracle. 

So while I am grateful for the family whose premature baby beat the odds and lives . . . her life is not the measure of God's goodness, or power, or love.  

"Jesus and the disciples recrossed the sea to Jesus’ hometown. They were hardly out of the boat when some men carried a paraplegic on a stretcher and set him down in front of them. Jesus, impressed by their bold belief, said to the paraplegic, “Cheer up, son. I forgive your sins.” Some religion scholars whispered, “Why, that’s blasphemy!”
"Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” At this he turned to the paraplegic and said, “Get up. Take your bed and go home.”" 
"He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners."
What do you think? 
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  1. Yes! God is good ALL THE TIME!

  2. Oh, Beth. This is so incredibly beautiful. Like, take my breath away tears starting beautiful. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

  3. "God is God, and he is not limited by his miracles." Love this!

  4. Yes He is. All the time! I've had to walk through several of these very heart wrenching scenarios and can honestly say my survival is the miraculous too. Thanks Beth, this post moved me to tears.

  5. Yes. The real miracle is simply that He never leaves us.

  6. Beth,

    This is so true...I was just telling someone this I good He is in spite of all I have endure...inspite of all the world endures.


  7. This is the story (and the TRUTH) that we need to keep telling. Thank you.

  8. I'm so glad I met you! This is a simple and crucial message, made beautiful for me to take it in. Thank you.

  9. which is more miraculous indeed. beautiful, beth, my heart was ripping as i read your short description of holding her just that once. still in tears. he is God even the 18th-20th of every month (i feel like i can't talk about this, never having experienced my own baby loss, but just reflecting back what i've heard from you yourself. what a miracle you are still here, breathing and heart beating and celebrating 6 month olds).

  10. I love this: it is so important that we don't measure God by what He does for us. (Though I also want to cry: but how do we KNOW he is good if he doesn't do good things? Surely a person's goodness is revealed through their actions? - but then I know the complexities and I start to unravel those - it just felt good to get that objection out of the way. Hope that makes sense!)

    Yes. It is the challenge to me, always, to say, 'though the fig tree does not bud, yet will I rejoice in God my saviour' (Hab 3). Sometimes I hear people say 'God is good!' And it is so lightweight a statement, it roughly translates as 'my life is superfun right now!'

    But you say it, and I can hear the costliness. Thank you. Looking forward to knowing you better through Story 101

  11. I think that this is an amazing post!! very well stated and I thank you!
    wow...gotta go back and read it again...

    God bless you, Beth. I've been following you on Instagram and pray for you every time a pic of yours pops up.

  12. Thank you. That's all I have the energy to say this evening. Just thank you.

    email: firemom at stopdropandblog dot com

  13. Yes, yes, and YES! I have said variations of this over the years, but never so perfectly and eloquently as you just shared here, my dear sister.

    That was the hardest faith testing thing for me...hearing the stories of the earthly miracles...and the praise for our God's goodness, because He healed this side of heaven. Hearing those who believe that He is good because He healed in a way that can be seen with their eyes...or that it was their faith that made it so.

    But, what I behold before me, in this restored this walking with a limp, but walking just as miraculous....nay, more so, arguably, than if He would've healed the bodies of my sweet babes this side of heaven.

    For, they are healed.

    But, in addition...souls have been saved, lives transformed, layers uncovered, songs song with the sweetness that only comes from the deep moans of grief's longing ache, hearts bound by desperate clinging, hope when there seems to be none, life emerging more vividly and real from death's grasp. Hearts healing. Comfort offered. Women gathering, sharing the tears. Walking together.

    He knows how to weave the kind of miracle that spans generations, and multiplies before us like that loaves and the fishes. When He works the kind of miracles that matter in eternity...the magnificence, the grace, the sheer earth-shattering, bring you to your knees beauty. that is something.

    And, in it the giving and in the taking away...He is good. And, He is God.

    All. the. time.

  14. Your words are so true and so encouraging to me. I too have had to struggle through that issue-- when people say that God is so good in response to a physical blessing or miracle. In reality-- He is always good and He has given us all the biggest blessing... His one and only son Jesus. Thank you for these words!

  15. I held my infant daughter as she died. She went to Jesus just four hours after she was born. It was such a heart-wrenching experience and yet I can say with confidence ... God is good. He carried me and is still. And Evie is safe in His arms. Those are pretty great things if you ask me.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King