(…continued) We usually look to God only for the big miracles, the big interventions in our lives, at those times when we are really in trouble. It is when there is an accident or a serious illness or a major crisis that we look to God and pray to God for a miracle. And of course, the Bible tells us we should look to God in our time of need.
But we must not forget to also see God’s hand in the miracles that we experience every day. Life itself is an incredible miracle. A million miracles have been going on in your own body this very day, keeping you alive and thinking and moving. The process of my writing these words and you reading them, by which thoughts from my mind are transported through my fingers to the page, and then from the page through your eyes and into your mind, is the result of a million little miracles.
University professor Lewis Smedes illustrated this fact with the following little conversation. He said to his wife one evening, “An amazing thing happened to me today.”
“Oh,” she replied, “what was that?”
“Well,” Lewis said, “I told my left leg to move, and it actually moved.”
“Well yes, honey,” she agreed, “that is truly amazing.”
That doesn’t sound like much. Moving your left leg is not usually considered very miraculous. You could probably do that right now if you wanted to. Go ahead, try it. Wiggle your left leg, right now. Were you able to manage that? Great!
But as simple and common as that little wiggle was, you just performed a neurological miracle that has still not been fully explained. My words to you became a thought in your brain that then told the muscles in your leg to move, and they did. How a notion in your brain becomes a motion in your body is a miracle far beyond even today’s extensive knowledge of the human body. Scientists understand much of the mechanics of it, but still more mystery remains. We call it a miracle when a tumor disappears overnight and we don’t know why. But we can’t even explain how we can wiggle our left leg.
Lewis Smedes had a very special reason for appreciating that movement in his left leg. In the article I was reading, he went on to tell the rest of his story. One day, several months earlier, he had been a guest lecturer at a nearby University. The lecture hall was filled with students, and Smedes was sitting on a chair on the stage while he was being introduced. When the introduction was complete and the students were welcoming him with their applause, Smedes leaned forward in his chair to get up. But he couldn’t do it. He could not stand up. His mind was telling his left leg to join his right leg in moving to stand up, but his left leg was not responding. For 65 years, every time his mind told his leg to do something, his leg did as it was told. But not this time. He was unable to make it work, and there he sat– until the ambulance arrived.
Lewis Smedes had a minor stroke that day. A tiny blood clot had formed, moved through his system, and became clogged in a small blood vessel in the motor area of his brain. This closed off the blood supply for a time, damaging a part of his brain. That happens sometimes. Most of the time that doesn’t happen because the blood has a way of keeping itself clean and of the proper density. Sometimes, the body loses the ability to regulate this perfectly, and then the doctor will prescribe a blood thinner.
But oftentimes, people don’t know they need to do that until they have a stroke. Most of the time, we do not need to medically thin our blood. Somehow, the body knows how to regulate that itself. That, and everything else, just keeps on working, allowing the brain to continue with its own miracle of somehow sending messages to the left leg and to every other part of the body. (continued…)
Psalm 50:15 — “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you, and you will honor me,” (says the Lord).
Psalm 139:13-14 — For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Job 5:9 — He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
Martin Luther’s Small Catechism explanation to the First Article of the Apostle’s Creed:
I believe that God created me and all that exists; that he gave me my body and soul, eyes, ears and all my members, my mind and all my abilities. And I believe that God still preserves me by richly and daily providing clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, land, cattle, and all I own, and all I need to keep my body and life. God also preserves me by defending me against all danger, guarding and protecting me from all evil. All this God does only because he is my good and merciful Father in heaven, and not because I have earned or deserved it. For all this I ought to thank, praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.