To celebrate God opening my eyes through the story you are about to read, I’m giving a free copy of Temple Sweepers to go along with every copy of Everyday Heroes sold this week. It’s a 2 for 1 deal! Just click on the pictures below or go to the store tab above to place your order.
I asked my thirty-something daughter yesterday if she knew what event evoked this question and answer, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” Do you know who or when those words were spoken?
Even though Jennifer wasn’t even conceived when those words were uttered, she remembered the movie, Miracle, based on America’s 1980 Olympic hockey team’s 4 to 3 victory over the USSR. If you’re old like me, maybe you remember the event. If you are young like Jenn, maybe you remember the movie. If you don’t remember either one, maybe you’re not from around here. 🙂
It was February 1980. The United States escaped the 70’s just barely. Vietnam, inflation, Watergate, unemployment, gas lines, and the Cold War had taken its toll. All the while, a band of young men trained. As boys, they had learned basic hockey skills, but now they practiced those skills, increased their endurance, learned the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents, and created a strategic game plan. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks inspired his hungry team with, “You were born to be players. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.” They believed it, secured the lead, and played good defense until time ran out. As time dwindled to the last seconds, sportscaster Al Michaels asked millions of viewers, “Do you believe in miracles?”
This famous quote came to mind last Wednesday after I experienced something miraculous on my back porch. (I told you last week I had something amazing to tell you!) My thorn in the flesh, rheumatoid arthritis, had reared its ugly head for about 3 or 4 weeks zapping my energy. Every joint wanted to call a timeout. I begged to be taken out of the game so I could just sit the bench. However, there’s usually too much going on to just sit. There are still things that need doing – things I want to be doing. I go and go until I can’t go any more. Such is the life of a rheumatoid flare. For the most part, I’ve learned to manage those. But this one got the best of me. I talked to my doctor thinking it was time for more hormones, but blood work said no. I decided to go back to my training. My own words from Temple Sweepers screamed from my bookshelf for me to pay attention. I decided to take some time to rest, fast, detox my diet, and share my frustrations.
The previous week my little band of sisters and I had traveled to Gadsden for our monthly Bible study with ladies at a women’s drug rehab facility. Knowing it would be my turn to lead next month, I asked each of them to write on an index card a question they had about their spiritual life or the Bible, and I would try to address as many as I could in the following session.
Then came Wednesday. Since my body needed some rest I decided to make camp on the porch, sort through the questions, and hopefully find some answers. That’s when one question jumped off the card, tapping me with a wow-I-could-have-had-a-V8 thump on the head. The card read, “Is it true the devil can only hear what we say and not what we think, but God can hear us and know our thoughts?” Hmmm. That would need some investigating. (Be patient, I’m getting to the miracle part.)
I went to some trusted resources and most of them agreed that nowhere in the Bible does it talk about Satan reading our actual thoughts. God can. In fact, I had just been praying the same thing David prayed in Psalm 139, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Many times the gospel writers mention Jesus knowing the thoughts of others. But nowhere does scripture give Satan the attributes of being omnipresent (everywhere at once), omnipotent (all powerful), or omniscient (knows everything). He has a team of fallen angels (demons) to help him do his dirty work. Satan rules the earth. He and his team roam the earth looking for someone to devour. They act like supercomputers gathering information to use against us. They hear what we say, see where we go, listen to our conversations, and take note of what gives us pain and pleasure – but they don’t know our thoughts. Can you say lightening bolt?!
All my recent struggles suddenly began to make better sense. God wanted to use a fine grit emery board to file my rough spots, but my independence and pride forced him to reach for the rasp instead. Once again, my eyes opened and focused on God at work. My struggles began to take the form of instructors rather than enemies. My friend Dianne always quotes Ephesians 1:19 to the ladies at the jail. “That power (the Holy Spirit) is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” So, not only does the mighty God know me through and through, and my sweet Jesus know my heart, but the Holy Spirit lives inside of me and gives me the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. I have the power to resist the evil one. It’s that power that can make Satan run the other way! He can’t read my mind or my heart, but he has noticed how an attack on my health threatened my ability to give God praise. A refusal to give God praise hurts my testimony, and Satan loves it! Have you recognized Satan’s best tool against you?
I’ve always been an inside-my-head kind of prayer. God and I talk a lot, but it’s mostly a private, on-going conversation that goes on between my ears. No more! Last Wednesday I began praying out loud – and I do mean loud. I fussed at Satan making sure he knew I was on to him. I let him hear my love for God and my affection for Jesus. I called on that Holy Spirit power that raised Jesus from the dead to knock Satan on his backside. I praised God and railed on Satan for about twenty minutes. When I finished I took a deep cleansing breath and smiled for a while. I knew I had been heard – even by the workers building the house next door!
I finished sorting the index cards and went inside to do some laundry. I cleaned up the kitchen, made the bed, and then picked up some stray clothes and shoes. Humph! I hadn’t even felt like walking across the living room the day before. I decided I’d try to go for a walk at the farm; something I’d not been able to do for weeks. I walked one mile – then two, came home, and immediately called Ron. I couldn’t believe how good I felt. My story gave him chills. He said he had a similar experience a few months earlier, but didn’t want to admit how he had yelled at Satan.
I don’t really care if you want to call this a miracle or not. It’s not a total physical healing. I still have tender joints, but I’m back in the game. God’s taught me a valuable lesson on giving Him, not just the hard stuff, but everything! I’m sticking with one of my favorite sayings; you might argue with my theology, but you can’t argue with my transformation. All I know is, I was down for the count, and now I’m not! God gets the glory!
I’m trusting in God’s power no matter what comes. How about you? We were born to be players. We were meant to be here. This is our moment to give God the glory.
Do you believe in miracles? Oh, yes!