Jumped out of bed this morning when the alarm rang. Was a full night of sleep — eight whole hours. No kidding! So, “what’s the big deal?”, some of you are probably thinking. In the last week I have travelled from Singapore to Vancouver to Chicago and back to Vancouver again. Is a full night of uninterrupted sleep something to be waxing lyrical about? You bet it is! A tiny miracle, as miracles go. Ordinary even, you might say.
Only two weeks ago, we were frantically battling all manner of deadlines in the office. Three books were due for delivery within days of each other, with two book launches a day apart. Numerous other books were in the queue for completion. Corporate accounts needed to be finalized. Then there were preparations for a Board Meeting in Chicago, talks to draft for a church camp in Vancouver, and the Malaysian general elections to seriously pray for. If divine intervention was needed in our lives, it would be for a season such as this.
To be honest, I’m still not sure how we got through it all…though having a great team definitely is a plus. But we also had God watching our backs, and that counted for the most in my book (sorry, pun unintended). The launch of our new title in the Good News for Bruised Reeds series went so well, not just because many people attended it, but because of the many precious conversations that have been started on the topic of walking with friends who are grappling with same-sex attraction.
We also had a soft launch for Kara Martin’s Workship 2 the following day at a Marketplace Conference organized by Wesley Methodist Church. In Graceworks’ mission to see relational transformation in church and society, Kara’s Workship books have been integral for seeing the sacred-secular divide demolished in the marketplace, and for helping people to better relate to employers/ employees/ colleagues and live out their faith where they work.
If we thought that it was miraculous to get through that weekend, imagine our joy and wonder at what God had wrought when we landed in Vancouver on May 9th. In a time zone that is 13 hours behind Malaysia/Singapore’s, we turned on our mobile phones to find that the opposition coalition in Malaysia had won the general elections! I still get goosebumps just thinking about such a monumental movement of the people’s will in this nation. Knowing that we’ve been allowed to witness these events has been humbling. Nothing ordinary about this, but miraculous to the max.
Makes me think back to such times as the parting of the Red Sea, the dropping of daily manna from heaven, and the birth of a baby that would save the world. But also to Joseph’s long journey to being the second most powerful man in Egypt, or Moses’ 40 years tending sheep, or Hannah’s long wait for a baby.
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
(1 Sam. 10–17 NIV)
When the going gets tough or the dark night of our souls seem never-ending, we need to remember that God isn’t fickle or callous. He loves us so much that, even if it breaks His heart to have to prune us, He will, because it results in more growth and fruitfulness. I know this is cold comfort when we’re going through challenges, whether physical or spiritual, but God doesn’t ask for blind faith, He gives us those Aha moments when it dawns on us that He’s been there all along. All He asks is that we trust Him and believe. And remember.
I think of many of the people we walk alongside as part of Graceworks’ ministry. We have young adults going through existential crises, young couples who are encountering challenges in their efforts to start a family, marginalized people struggling to find a loving community within the church, and a whole host of other issues that remind us, at the end of the day, we are all bruised reeds needing the tending of a loving Father. Even as I write this, I’m getting news of fresh fires to fight in our office, but I remind myself as I remind all our colleagues and friends facing challenges that our God is faithful and we shouldn’t despair. Look out for the ordinary miracles. Another one may be waiting around the corner.
Isn’t it remarkable?
Like everytime a raindrop falls
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today
The birds in winter have their fling
And always make it home by spring
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today
When you wake up everyday
Please don’t throw your dreams away
Hold them close to your heart
‘Cause we are all a part
Of the ordinary miracle
[Sarah McLachlan, “Ordinary Miracle”
(from “Charlotte’s Web” soundtrack)]