Reclaiming Miracles: What shocks you?

The older I get, the less and less I am shocked. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a friend’s divorce, there is very little left in the world that causes me to stop in my tracks out of disbelief.  That seems like a sad plight I suppose, or like the words of a jaded old cynic hardened by years of war or economic depression.  I am neither of the latter, and I don’t chock it up to a hardened heart, rather 30 or so years dipped in the everyday experiences of planet earth.

When I read the Old and New Testament, being shocked seemed like an everyday event.  Whether it was food falling from the sky or a dead man walking, the biblical world was beyond the brim with divinely deep moments.  Why doesn’t our world seem that way?

Perhaps it is and I’ve missed it. Perhaps I walk past the shocking all the time.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner notes this about the burning bush story from Exodus. “The burning bush was not a miracle. It was a test. God wanted to find out whether or not Moses could pay attention to something for more than a few minutes. When Moses did, God spoke. The trick is to pay attention to what is going on around you long enough to behold the miracle without falling asleep. There is another world, right here within this one, whenever we pay attention.”

Kushner’s perspective makes a lot of sense to me.  For a God who already created mankind, energy, water, and a duckbilled platypus, a flaming bush seems like a weak attempt at the miraculous.

I’m trying to retrain my 21st century mind to look for miracles, and I’m noticing quite a few. For example, I speak at youth conferences quite a bit, and a common circumstance at these events is that a cupid shot couple will skip a worship session for a make out session- and who knows what else.  For some reason, as adults, we are always shocked when this happens.  Really? Two teenagers with sexual desires and a lack of self-control are shocking?  I am not suggesting these situations don’t need to be addressed- I am suggesting it shouldn’t surprise us. Rather, I did feel a nudge from God a year or so ago when an event like this occurred, that I shouldn’t allow this event to become a distraction from the truly shocking.  The miracle was something I had walked past 1000 times and never noticed.  As a handful of adults stood dumbfounded and distracted, there was a room full of teenagers just a few feet away that were worshipping a God that they had never seen.  That is actually a miracle.  Seeing it takes a Moses like sensitivity, a drawing in to the obvious, not allowing ourselves to get drawn towards the emotional vacuums that steal our joy and ability to see with spiritual eyes.

What miracle is happening in your midst right now? Is your focus there, or on something that feels shocking, but is actually not shocking at all? Ask God for a renewed mind, a retrained mind, to see his hand today.