It has been over a week since the devastating earthquake took place in Haiti. I have wept as the scenes of sorrow flashed across the screen of my television. The suffering is unimaginable. Our church in Medford, Oregon has begun to receive offerings for relief work. We will gather needed supplies to send. We have a team in the works to go to this crushed nation and help them rebuild. We want to be involved.
Yesterday, it was reported that an five year-old child had been recovered from the rubble after being buried alive for 8 days. There was no food and no water, yet this child was still alive. Another report came in about a seventy year-old woman who was discovered in the ruins of a church.
As these reports were coming in a reporter from CNN made the following observation, “We have entered into the realm of miracles.” The reporter's words were affirming the reality that according to normal bodily functions, coming out alive after 8 days is beyond what is normal or natural. These kinds of survival stories have the word, “miracle”, attached to them and bring these kinds of recoveries into the realm of the supernatural.
I thought of Luke's words in Acts 19:11 describing the ministry of Paul. Luke wrote, “God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.” (NLT) I went after that verse in other translations and here is what I found regarding the word “unusual” as it describes the miraculous:
“Extraordinary” - New International Version
“Quite out of the ordinary” - The Message
“Not common” - Young's Literal Translation
Miracles are all of the above definitions and more. As I processed Haiti, the CNN comment, and the miraculous rescues, I went to church last night resolved to have our church pray differently for Haiti.
As I said earlier, we are sending money and aid to help in the relief effort. We will send some of our people to be boots on the ground. All of this is desperately needed. But, if I was still alive and trapped under tons of rubble, and out of the reach of what is being sent as relief, I would want my life to enter into the realm of the miraculous. I would want to be seen on CNN coming out of the rubble alive. I would want the church around the world praying for the realm of the miraculous to be experienced in my situation.
Last night, as the church assembled, I asked the people to pray wonderfully wild and crazy kinds of prayers – prayers that send angels to feed people. Prayers that find people alive three weeks later when all hope has vanished. Prayers, that when answered, will leave the world astonished at the power of God and affirm the statement made by the reporter, “We have entered the realm of miracles.”
It can become all too easy for the Church to respond like the world when God does a miracle. Our astonishment at the miracles of God can reveal that we might have stopped believing for God to do something infinitely beyond all that we would ever dare to ask or think. When more miracles take place in Haiti, and I believe they will, I want to rise up here in the security of my comfortable home in America and say, “That is my God at work!”