I was tired and had nodded off while on the tram. When I arrived at my destination, I was startled awake and barely made it off in time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after my dentist appointment that I realized I’d left my laptop on the tram! Yikes! Work files from the last 20 years were on that laptop, along with the backup drives in the bag with it—now all lost!
For most of my life I’ve described my faith as a “Jesus-loves-me-this-I-know” type of faith. Jesus said He loved me. The Bible tells me so. I didn’t have a lot of questions. And when I did I was usually satisfied with answers like “only God knows” or “you just have to take this one by faith.” In other words, logic may not apply here, but believe anyway. I was surprisingly okay with this.
Have you ever been happily reading an enjoyable book when suddenly a sentence hits you right between the eyes? In The Furious Longing of God,1 Brennan Manning writes:
In his classic autobiography Confessions, Saint Augustine, a theologian of the early church, narrates an incident which happened when he was a teenager. There was a pear tree near his family’s vineyard loaded with fruit that wasn’t even attractive in appearance or taste. Yet he and some friends stole pears from the tree. They did so not to eat them themselves, but to throw them to the pigs. He says that he and his friends committed the theft simply because they had pleasure in doing something that was forbidden, a tale as old as that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
One fine day, my wife and I took Kristen, our 13-month-old daughter, to the beach. It was perfect, beautiful weather. As we strolled down the sand, each holding a little hand, she excitedly smiled and chattered in that special encrypted language of hers.
Over the years that I have dedicated to Christian service, I’ve had the benefit of receiving very good input in how to maintain a vibrant prayer life—not all of which I have followed consistently, unfortunately. As a young Christian, the book Streams That Never Run Dry1 had a profound effect on my view of prayer. Even though I didn’t feel very talented in many areas of my life, I saw that I could pray. It’s one form of Christian service that’s open to anyone—no specialized training required! Two quotes I read that deeply inspired my prayer life are: “A praying life is never a wasted life,” and “Prayer is the beginning of every miracle.”
I recently reflected on how my perspective on miracles has evolved throughout my life. Although I’ve had faith in Jesus since childhood, I often compared myself with those who’d witnessed healings and other dramatic miracles—thinking I’d missed out. I then came across an eye-opening definition of the word miracle: “An event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause.”1 This caused me to reflect further on my past, and I realized that I’ve lived through several events that perfectly fit this definition. Starting with the very beginning.
Today I saw a leaf suspended in the air, dancing in the wind and twirling, but not falling. I stopped and watched it for a moment, amazed and a bit confused, until I looked closely and saw a tiny, nearly invisible thread of a spider’s web that attached the leaf to the branch above. Then it all made sense and I could walk on, realizing that it was an amazing feat of nature that the tiny wisp of a thread could support a leaf while the wind wildly spun it around.