When You’re in Need of a Miracle

March 15, 2013 | 22 comments

“What’s a miracle anyway?”

I don’t know who asked the question first: me or the girls. Maybe the question just asked itself, there at the end of our dusty farm driveway this morning.

Honestly, the question waves like a flag at us most mornings, right next to the mailbox.


This is where the girls and I pray every morning, while we wait for the school bus to crest the hill out by the barbed-wire fence. We pray for miracles, right here, with our heads bowed as the sun slides up the sky.

Aren’t we all looking for a miracle? And aren’t some of us just wondering where we might find ours today?

barbed wire

I do know that miracles can be scandalously obvious, yet I miss them.

I also know that miracles can remain cruelly shrouded for whole lifetimes, buried under intense pain.

I know that even the most earnest modern-day disciples might have to wait all the way until Heaven, when they can finally look back to spy the miracles that were. It might look like fireworks on the replay, like the whole blasted thing was a miracle.

rear view mirror

I might be completely wrong about the fireworks thing, but that’s what I prayed for this morning. I prayed for fireworks, and for every one of us to have as much of the show this side of Heaven as the Good Lord is willing to give us.

Yes, every morning for years, the girls and I have prayed for miracles. And as the girls have gotten bigger, so have their prayers.

The girls and I, we’ve seen enough miracles to know that they really do happen. And that’s why we keep praying for them. For the sick and the dying and the lost cats and the lost people and the broken and the hungry and the rain to finally come.

We aren’t afraid to cry together. And I do think the capacity to cry is a sort of miracle anyway. 

I wonder if the reason miracles are so hard to see, is because they’re found in that thin line where glory brushes up against the world’s most sullen parts.  It’s so thin, you have to be paying really good attention. And you might have to feel around for it in the dark.

That’s why the rest of us need to always be holding out our candles.


And if miracle is Gospel, then could it all be a miracle? Or is that too Pollyanna? I don’t know. I’m sort of groping around wondering, just trying to work this one out.  You know?

I do know this: that miracles don’t always come with signposts  and flashing arrows to tell us, “This is it! This is the miracle!”

I have to be paying attention.

After the girls got on the bus, I poked around with my Bible software on the computer. In the King James Version, that one word, “miracle” is only used outright 37 times.

In a book full of miracles, a scant few are actually called miracles. Usually, you have to read the whole story to know that the story is a miracle. 

The word “miracle” is missing from the creation story, the parting of the Red Sea, the  felling of Goliath, the birth of a Messiah, and even Christ’s unfathomable rising from a sealed grave.

In the Bible, you have to read the story to know it’s a miracle. And maybe in life, you’ve got to live the story, before you can look back to know where the miracles were.

And somewhere on the playback, we’ll see how it was written, not in very large letters, but in the curve of a friend’s arm around your shoulder, the way he bent his knees to pray, or how the pastor put a cross of oil on your forehead, anointing you for God-knows-what.

And God knows what the miracle is.
So I want to stay close by Him.  

The girls and I? We’re going to keep on looking for miracles every morning here on the farm, and we’ll be asking Him to unleash a few more on all of us. And I won’t stop asking or looking until that day when I reach the golden road to Heaven.

iowa sunrise, country road


This song, by Sara Groves, has been burning down into our bones this week. Thus, this post …

by | March 15, 2013 | 22 comments


  1. Diana Trautwein

    YES, yes, yes. It’s having eyes to see, ears to hear. There are miracles all around, from tiny to humungous, yet we so often miss them. Or fear calling the ‘ordinary’ ones miracle at all. The sunshine just burned through the fog at my house. For me, that’s miracle enough right now. Thank you, Lord.

    • dukeslee

      That IS miracle enough, YES, Diana. I have prayed for God to show me all the miracles He’s doing, but honestly? I don’t think I could ever stand up again if He did such a thing. I’d just have to live flat on my face for the rest of my life.

  2. Holly

    Yes, even the next breath, and the next… miracles each one! How sweet that your girls get to know the beauty of that curious thing we call faith! To know what we cannot see…

    • dukeslee

      Every breath, yes.

      Mornings with my girls are my favorite. I will always, always cherish those prayer times.

  3. 3dLessons4Life

    I believe in miracles…. and I love this post. 🙂

    • dukeslee

      I believe, too! 🙂

  4. Sylvia R

    I’m thinking how scandalous it is that we pray prayers and often pass right by His clear answers to them! Or experience–and notice–happenings that can only be miracles, and then next day forget and complain about something else. I’m thinking of myself here: Guilty! Oh, how ungrateful! You are reminding me to pay attention, give thanks, and not forget!
    (And oh, how I love children’s prayers! They’re so bold to ask things we never would–and get their answers! 🙂 )

    • dukeslee

      Hi Sylvia,

      I am forgetful, too. It’s part of our human condition. Remember how long it took for the Israelites to start complaining after they’d witnesses a miracle of gigantic proportions?

  5. annkroeker

    Thanks for the reminder to stay close by and keep my eyes open…you never know when He might act.

    • dukeslee

      Keeping vigil with you, for the Miracle Maker, Ann. Thanks for being here.

  6. Megan Willome

    Well, I got tears in my eyes when I read the title. Guilty–in need of a miracle.

    On the other hand, I like what you said about many of the miraculous things in the Bible not being labeled that way. That makes me think.

    • dukeslee

      I think we all need a miracle. And the girls and I? We will make a point to pray for yours out by the mailbox… Love you.

  7. Leese

    Thank you for this. Really.

    As one in need of a miracle, I appreciate some of what you said that makes me want to reevaluate my perspective on what that might look like. It also sort of reminds me of a great talk I heard from Beth Guckenburger last year when she talked about God not being through with the story yet…sometimes I think it’s easy to think God’s not done the miraculous, when it’s really more a matter of Him not being done with the story yet (sort of what you were saying about so many things not being even called miracles in the Bible).

    Again, thanks!

    • dukeslee

      Leese, I don’t know what your needed-miracle looks like, of course. But I know the One who does. And I’m praying for you. I truly believe that God is still in the business of making miracles. Praying for fireworks, Leese. Fireworks …

  8. Carolyn Hayghe

    My children and I have seen miracles in our own lives the past two and a half years…God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow! Praise His Holy name!

  9. Chelle Strech

    Thank you for this post. There is so much truth in the words you have written. So many miracles in my life already. The biggest one being when I accepted Jesus as my Savior 5 yrs. and 7 months ago. I am so thankful yet I too miss seeing the many miracles He does all around me everyday. Thank you for sharing this.


  10. Mai Bateson

    In my life, miracles happen is disguise. God always listen and He is always there when I call upon Him. Never did he leave nor forsake me… Praise His Holy name!

  11. Lisa @ four simply living

    Wow, I just love this entire post. I highlighted on line to reply too, and then found another, and another and through well shoot the whole thing is worthy of highlighting. I’m sharing this one on my FB page for The Sabbath 🙂

  12. Nancy Ruegg

    “Miracles don’t always come with signposts and flashing arrows.” Those words of yours reminded me: The miracles we miss are the ones that we sometimes call simple blessings. What a misnomer! As I contemplate some of my favorite simple blessings, I realize they’re not simple at all, but really qualify as miracles (“events that excite admiring awe” — Defintion #2 in Webster’s New College Dictionary). Examples might include: a mockingbird’s song, the fragrance of a rose, the softness of a baby’s skin–you get the idea. The lesson for me: Miracles are no less wonderful just because they are frequent.

  13. Duane Scott

    Sharing this at my place.

    Especially this: In the Bible, you have to read the story to know it’s a miracle. And maybe in life, you’ve got to live the story, before you can look back to know where the miracles were.

    So. Very. True.

    Thank you.

  14. debyholtschlag

    I am so blessed and thankful that you allow Him to use you as a vessel in sharing His Words. I love looking at how the ripples He creates through His glory touch each of us. That the ripples He first began back when creating the world will never end – even when in Heaven worshiping Him. How I love that through His Word, His Spirit – He has opened my eyes to see at least some of His miracles!

  15. Erin Mauney

    We are praying for miracles in our family and we are seeing them. I like your perspective in this blog. It was definitly a blessing. Thank you!


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