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Miracles… Some pray for miracles, but most do not believe that miracles still happen.  Perhaps miracles happened back when Jesus walked on the earth, but we fear that those days are past.  Some believe that the miracles of the Bible are just fantastic additions interjected by zealous followers into the story of a great moral teacher.  Even those of us who pray, are hesitant to pray for miracles for fear we will yet again be disappointed.  Our prayers are tentative, with caveats to allow God an “out” if He chooses not to intervene in an extraordinary way.

Miracles… We may struggle to believe, but the truth is: we are surrounded by miracles all the time… we just fail to notice the fantastic in our effort to survive the ordinary challenge of the day.

A child is born… we celebrate the life… we welcome the gift…we cherish the addition to our family… but do we see in that life the millions of little miracles that brought her into being?  Imagine her beginning… just a bundle of undifferentiated cells… instructed by a blueprint with no human origin to become an eye cell, a heart cell, a brain cell with the potential to learn… one cell after the next becoming a part of a unique person with more potential than she will ever be able to explore in one lifetime.

A year ago, AJ was born.  Happy Birthday AJ!  Many of us remember that day… the prayer email sent had news of joy overshadowed by the desperate plea to pray for a little one born too early.  That email and all that followed were invitations for us to be on the front lines of God’s little miracles.  We asked for what we could not imagine… for a million little miracles… for each breath… for each decision on his care… for each opportunity for mom and dad to hold and love their fragile little one.  As we look back, do we see the struggle, the fear, the exhaustion of the battle to save little AJ’s life?  Do we see the tears of a grandmother feeling helpless on the sidelines as her daughter and her precious grandson fought together for his life?  Or do we see in all that pain and fear God’s miracles, millions of them… each breath, each touch, each smile and even each cry that confirmed time and time again that AJ was still in the fight.  This year we saw miracle upon miracle… through the gifted hands of doctors that God created… through parents given the courage of Daniel to step into the lion’s den of that NICU every day to love their son… through a tiny little boy with a determination to claim life that was woven into his being by a God who has great plans for him.  When we look at AJ, we should celebrate miracle upon miracle… one precious gift from God after another.

Thank God for letting us be on the front lines to witness the miraculous unfold this year! Today is the 2-year anniversary of our pandemic shut-down.  For the first time in our history, the doors to our church were closed on a Sunday, the people of God told not to come to “church”.  I have been reading accounts of the history of Lenape Valley Church… and there are several stories of times when the weather was challenging, but still the people gathered for worship, all-be-it in smaller numbers.  But on March 15, 2020, Lenape Valley closed her doors, sending the message to the faithful to stay home.  That shutdown could have defined our church, but God had miracles in store.  From worship on March 15th live streamed on an iPad through Facebook Live, to a creative team determined to keep the ministry of LVC thriving through the pandemic, to a generous faith community committed to love our neighbors through the economic challenges of the pandemic… one miracle after another.  Through it all, we have been given the privilege to be part of God’s miracles!

Are you starting to see the miracles happening all around us?  Yet, where are God’s miracles as Europe is torn by war…. bombs destroying homes, hospitals, and schools in Ukraine… refugees flooding across the border into the surrounding countries stressing the resources of their neighbors… the world holding our collective breath as Putin levies threat after threat in our direction.  Where are the miracles that would demonstrate that God’s goodness is greater than any evil?  Again, we need to train our eyes to see the millions of little miracles… the resilience of Ukrainian children as they play in refugee camps… the generosity of the neighboring countries, opening their homes to welcome refugees… the courage of Ukrainian leaders who stand boldly to lead at the risk of their own lives… the birth of a child after the Maternity Hospital was destroyed… the efforts of people across the world to send aid- our Diaper Mountain growing by the day- destined for refugees in Poland.  I just learned that one Ukrainian Mayor was distributing Operation Christmas Child boxes to the children in bomb shelters in his town.  Some of the boxes we assembled in October went to Ukraine- perhaps our boxes are helping to cheer scared children.  Miracle upon miracle…

It would be so easy to be overwhelmed by the brokenness of this world.  We see the face of evil around every corner… We could allow today’s reality to strip us of faith.  But… I hope today God finds us on our knees, trusting the God of miracles for a million more.

With you in prayer, Anita
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