the miracles that don’t happen

The subtitle of my book reads “the miraculous life of an ordinary person”. The blurb on the back refers to miracles too. And yes, inside my book I do share stories of many miracles that I have experienced: some might seem small and almost insignificant, while others are unmistakeable and life-changing. One thing I have learned from being friends with God is that if you hang around with Him long enough, you will most likely get to experience miracles.

But what about the times when you don’t? What about all those people who pray faithfully asking God for a miracle, and who don’t get it?

Of all the questions and concerns I had about writing my book, this was the one that almost stopped me going ahead. More than one person expressed concern that my story might alienate people who didn’t get the miracle they wanted; that it might make them feel like somehow second-class Christians, unloved and inferior – and that is absolutely not the truth.
Among those closest to me there are those who I know God dearly loves, but who didn’t get the miracle their heart so deeply desired. And as you’ll read in the book, there have also been times when I didn’t get the miracle I was fervently praying for either. I am painfully familiar with the heartbreak involved. So I wanted to write this post for all those who didn’t get the miracle they longed for – because my heart is with you.

It’s not that I have a nice tidy answer – I don’t. There are two obvious paths we are usually tempted to take out of heartbreak: either blame God as if He was some kind of cruel deity playing with our lives, or blame ourselves for not having enough faith, not praying enough, not being good enough. But ultimately neither approach helps – they both lead inevitably to us going round in circles, re-living the pain and getting no relief. The only path that actually leads to healing is to seek Him in the pain and confusion, and allow Him to draw near and comfort us even when there are no easy answers. And that’s not easy or tidy – but when we know He is with us, He gives us the strength to keep going.

I remember one miracle in particular that I didn’t get, I prayed over and over for God to show me what to do, what to pray, to please lead me to whatever it was I needed for the breakthrough (as if the answer somehow depended on me) but He never did. It wasn’t because He didn’t love me, or because I couldn’t hear Him. Honestly, I still don’t know why. Sometimes we just don’t get the answers this side of eternity. But what He did show me is this: He loves us. Not in a bland, detached, nicey-nicey-platitude way, but in a get-down-in-the-dirt-and-rip-His-own-heart-open-to-grieve-with-us kind of way.
Because that’s the message of the Cross: He’s not the kind of God to leave us alone to suffer. He knows life on earth is a painful one, and in fact Jesus expressly told us that in this life we would have trouble (John 16:33). Nobody gets out of life without pain. But that’s why He came: to live with us; be tempted like us; and die for us so that we will never have to be alone. And ultimately (the very best news) to take us home with Him where there is no more suffering.

And that’s why I went ahead with writing my book, despite the risk that it might trigger some people’s pain. Because ultimately the ‘miraculous life’ is merely the subtitle – it’s not the main message. The real title, and the thing that I hope readers see that my book – and indeed life itself – is all about, is friendship with God. Sometimes we get to see miracles; sometimes we don’t get the ones we want. But either way, God wants to walk with us through it – through the highs and lows and every-day mundane. And thanks to Jesus, we can do that. We are never alone.

So keep praying, keep seeking those miracles – He loves to bless us. But if you don’t get the one you are hoping for, don’t let it keep you away from Him. Whether or not we see the miracles we hope for, we can have something better: the biggest miracle of all, His friendship with us.


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