When we hear the term miracles, we think of the big things: Moses parting the Red Sea, fire descending from heaven as a guide, the sun staying in the sky so Joshua could defeat his enemies; long-outdated stories that so many people write off as simply that: stories. However, there are modern miracles too, which most attribute to good fortune: someone coming out of a terrible accident without a scratch or a stage four cancer patient is suddenly cured. But when it comes to smaller things we don’t consider them miracles, just good luck or a fortunate coincidence. I’ve never understood that. First, because I don’t believe in coincidences ever since I’ve come to follow Christ and can see how He works our lives together. But second, because there is no reason why something isn’t a miracle simply because it is small or personal.
My life has had countless minor miracles (which, my use of “minor miracles” is in no way to say they are any less of a miracle, but just on a smaller stage than the ones we’re familiar with in the bible); however, Jesus seems to have an affinity with running miracles in my life. The first occurred a few years ago.
A friend of mine was running her third marathon, so a few of us came with her to cheer her along the course. We wanted to support her, especially so because the second marathon she ran, she dropped out of after mile 20 of 26.2. It had haunted her and this race was a big point in helping her move forward. We all wanted to support her through the finish line. It became clear very early on that she was already in her head and we were seriously concerned she may drop out, only furthering her inner turmoil. We did our best to meet up with her at different spots along the course to cheer and motivate her, but when she got to us waiting at mile marker 17, it was clear she was in very poor spirits. I hopped on the road and decided to jog down the block with her, hoping to make her laugh and distract her for a minute so she could move on in a better mental place. It wasn’t as easy as I hoped however, so I decided I would stay with her for a little while to make sure she was truly in a better mental state before I left her side. The short version is that I ran with her for eight miles. Another friend met up with us at mile marker 25 and ran with her to the finish line.
This alone may not seem very miraculous, but there are so many small “coincidences” make it nothing short of a miracle to me. One-I’m an avid summer kid. I will wear shorts and flip flops until my toes fall off with cold because I refuse to acknowledge winter. And on this day, in the middle of summer, I chose to wear sneakers. Two-I was wearing jeans. Any athlete, any person at all really, can tell you doing any physical activity in tight denim is wildly uncomfortable and restrictive of movement. Three-I had just gotten a fairly large tattoo on my side two days earlier; it was still healing and tender to touch. Four-I couldn’t tell you when the last time was I had run before that day. It couldn’t have been at all within at least three months. And even though I’ve been an athlete my whole life, it brings us to the big one: Five-I had never run eight consecutive miles in my life. I’m not sure I had run more than four miles at that point in my life.
I think this is the epitome of a minor miracle. This didn’t affect anyone but my friend and me. To the outside world, someone running eight miles is not a big deal. But it’s the little things underneath where we hear God speaking to us in ways only we can understand. Even as you read this you may be scoffing at my miracle, but God speaks through us through filters of our own experience, so when He is speaking to me, only I hear it, because no one else has that exact set of filters.
Think of a person with glasses. They need a specific lens that allows them to see the world. If anyone else puts on those glasses, the world is not as clear to them as it is for whom that the specific pair was made. They may still be able to discern the world around them, but it isn’t as straightforward as it is for the owner of the glasses. Now, I understand that in a world of 7 billion people that there will be people who have the same prescription which allows them to see from the same pair of glasses. But we all have had one experience or another that has allowed us to sympathize with another. And when God speaks to someone not everyone will hear it, but there will always be more than one person affected by it.
Which leads me into my second minor running miracle. Yesterday, I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) with a different friend. We completed the course in just under two and a half hours. For some perspective, the people who win half marathons can do them in about one hour and there is a maximum time limit of four hours. So it’s a pretty average time, nothing seemingly spectacular about it. So where is my miracle? Again, I find myself undertrained. I have had a whirlwind month between getting called by God to Charlotte, making the preparations, tying up loose ends and work in Pennsylvania, packing the house, making the move, and unpacking the house. So I haven’t run at all until this past week; and I was only running three miles a day. Then race day is upon me and what happens? Jesus carried my butt big time. We ran the entire race-a distance I had never run consecutively in my life. Actually, the most consecutive miles I had ever run prior had been the eight miles in the previous story. And we ran it in a completely credible time.
So why did Jesus give me this miracle with nothing at stake? He could have easily let me walk and run intermittently and still finish before the four hour mark. I believe it’s because there is never “nothing at stake”. I fully believe God gave me the ability and passion to write for a reason. I believe God is doing a lot of things in my life that will help me reach others. So ultimately, I believe God gave me this miracle so that I could give Him His glory and praise Him the way I know best, in writing, so others would be affected.
There is always something at stake. God is the ultimate chess master and minor miracles are his pawns. Seemingly meaningless everyday miracles are meant to affect us all and help show God’s love and mercy. So, you can scoff or be amazed, but no matter what, be aware that God is the one directing our lives and we are meant to encourage each other. And if my miracles aren’t the right prescription for you, don’t worry, He has plenty of glasses coming and going in our lives to help us see His grace with a little more clarity.