What makes a miracle?
A bus driver gets shot in the chest -- twice -- yet the bullets barely leave a scratch. Why? Because in his front chest pocket is a Bible.
Modern day miracle, or just a great bit of luck?
Whether you believe in miracles -- or the God behind them -- there’s no escaping the fact that a lot of people have their own miracle story to share.
Miracles aren’t a reward for good behavior. In fact, I don’t even think they’re a reward at all.
I know, because last year, after one little shout out on a radio station, I had 1,500 people write in and share their stories with me at ItsAGodThing.com. And as I read through them all, a few things became clear.
Miracles are not reserved for the elite. I couldn’t find evidence of any kind of grading system that matches the strength of the miracle to the goodness of our souls. Believe me, some of the people that God helped out were major screw-ups. Miracles aren’t a reward for good behavior. In fact, I don’t even think they’re a reward at all.
But they’re not all equal. Some are small, almost imperceptible to all but the recipient. Others are jaw-on-the-floor big, with seemingly impossible events conspiring to bring about an inexplicable change of circumstance.
Like the time a three-year-old girl walks into a jewelry store with her father at the very moment that a robbery is about to turn into a murder scene. Guns racked, the thieves take one look at the girl, realize they’re in over their heads and flee, leaving their hostages unharmed.
Or the letter that makes it from Pennsylvania to Arizona in less than twelve hours, arriving in time to bring a healing smile to an old man’s face on his last night on earth.
My own miracles story was pretty big too.
I was 24, headstrong and foolish the day I went out duck hunting alone. It was the early eighties so I didn’t have a cell phone, and today I look back and wonder why I didn’t bother telling anyone that I was going to a lake I’d never visited before.
I made a dumb mistake when I grabbed the barrel of the gun and gave my dog a light whack to get his attention. The gunsmith had made a mistake of his own by cross-threading the screw holding the stock to the rest of the gun. And when our two mistakes collided the gun went off and I ended up with a hole the size of a small door knob punched through my side.
I fell to the ground, crawled out of the shallow water and laid there alone for hours, a thick fog descending as the sun set.
Nobody knew where I was. Nobody came to look.
I was alone. I was dying.
Then God stepped in.
The chances of my wife and friends choosing the right lake that night, looking the right way as their headlights skimmed my car, so that I could hear their calls and they could hear my faint replies were just too much.
The thick fog parted not once but twice for the helicopter to land. That I made it to hospital in time, was patched up and able to walk again, was more than good fortune. It was a God thing. It was a miracle.
I don’t know why miracles happen to some people and not others. I don’t know why some miracles result in life while others are found in death.
But I do know that the thought of life without those divine interventions leaves me cold. And I know that more and more people sending me their stories, telling me that they’ve been helped in ways that are almost impossible to explain. With volume one of my book "It's A God Thing" already out, we’re now gathering stories for volume two.
Miracles happen, every day. So when we hear about a bus driver who happened to put a Bible right in the place where a guy would later fire his gun, what are we going to do with that? Are we just going to move on, brush it off as luck? Or could these stories be primers for us to ask our own questions and take a fresh look at the world around us?
Look around you. There are a lot of “lucky” things happening. It’s like the English writer and lay theologian G.K. Chesterton said, “The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.”
We have the evidence. Maybe now it’s time to change our doctrine.