(above Lisa w/my mutt Jackson. He's not that blurry in real life.)
A couple of days ago I wrote this post (Read that 1st if you haven't already) about the certainty of hope for those who are in Christ. Today, Lisa's hope was fulfilled as she left this world. This got me thinking about the role of prayer and miracles. I can look back over her Caring Bridge site and see people praying for a miracle of healing. As stated in my last post that's not a bad prayer. Certainly our desire was for that miracle had it been the Lord's will. But it wasn't.
I listened to a great message on the nature of miracles from this past Sunday, 4/3, by Todd Wagner. He's the pastor of Watermark, Lisa's home church in Dallas. In his sermon he talks about praying with and for Lisa, and how his prayer for her was not for healing, but that she would be faithful in what God was accomplishing. He expressed his desire for healing, but also prayed knowing that God's will may be different than our desires. It's a prayer reminiscent of many in the world who are persecuted. Their prayer, more often than not, is that God would give them strength to endure through the trial. In the West, our prayer is normally that God would take us out of the trial. The difference in these two prayers says a lot about how we view miracles, God, and answered prayer.
As I thought about Lisa's disease, Wagner's prayer, and the lack of a "miracle" I began to ask myself this: Did we miss the miracle? We have a 34 year old woman facing a certain death knowing the hopes and the dreams she had for this world will be unfulfilled. There will be no husband, no kids. She won't be at the birth of her next nephew.
Yet she endured to the end, never wavering in her faith, knowing that Christ and Christ alone had made a way for her to spend eternity with Him (2 Cor. 5:21). And now she gets Christ! In all His glory! In a place with no sorrow, no cancer, no heartache! If we miss the miracle in that, we need to re-evaluate how we view the miraculous.
Being reminded of this isn't meant as a substitution for grief. This situation, from an earthly perspective, sucks. But we don't grieve like those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13) and that is reason to celebrate.