Miracles DO Happen

By Rev. Heidi L Barham |  July 15, 2018

 Read Job 5:8 - 13
The onslaught of so much negative news lately could partially be to blame for me looking at the book of Job for our text this morning.  After all, if you are familiar with the story of Job, you know that he suffered much more than his fair share of tragedies; arguably through no fault of his own.
First, he lost his children, his servants, his livestock and herdsmen, his home and then eventually even his health.  And despite his wife’s encouragement to do so, Job refused to curse God.  He refused to do anything except trust God.
Perhaps one of the things Job is remembered most for saying comes from the first chapter of Job when he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Now without getting into too much detail this morning, the story of Job in a nutshell is a riches-to-rags-to-riches tale.  He was a man who found favor with the Lord but whose faith was tested beyond what most people would be able to bare.  And despite losing everything short of his life, Job persevered. 
And throughout his ordeal, he had several “friends” who initially came to provide comfort during his time affliction.  However, they ultimately sat as judge and jury trying to convict him of what they believed was some unrevealed sin.  They suggested that clearly he must have done something truly horrific to have deserved such torment.
But as we see in our own lives, there are times when life just happens to us; times when bad things happen to truly good people.
Just turn on the news and you will find story after story of bad things happening to some really good people.  It’s almost enough to make you throw up your hands in despair.  But this morning, I wanted to share with you some good news and it is simply this:
In fact, in our text for the morning, it was one of Job’s so-called friends, Eliphaz who said something that on its face offered comfort and reassurance.  If only he had not then turned around and started to condemn Job in the very next breath.
But this morning, I want to just look at the words of encouragement that Eliphaz spoke.  Words that can provide us with some comfort as well in the midst of difficult times. 
Listen again to the first few verses of our text for the morning as they are found in the Message Paraphrase:
“If I were in your shoes, I’d go straight to God, I’d throw myself on the mercy of God.  After all, he’s famous for great and unexpected acts; there’s no end to his surprises.  He gives rain, for instance, across the wide earth, sends water to irrigate the fields.  He raises up the down-and-out, gives firm footing to those sinking in grief.”
“After all, He’s famous for great and unexpected acts; there’s no end to his surprises.”
In other words, MIRACLES DO HAPPEN.
And please take note, I said miracles DO happen, present tense, as in miracles are still happening even now.  Miracles are not merely something that took place during biblical times.
In fact, we could probably find miracles happening every day if we were to look hard enough.  But, this morning, I want to highlight a few that have happened in just this past week.
The first is one that you are probably well aware of and it was the successful rescue of the 12 boys from Thailand and their coach who had been trapped inside a cave for three weeks.
A rescue that some experts initially said would take weeks or even months but that was accomplished in a matter of days.  And all in the nick of time, just before the water came rushing in that would have meant an entirely different outcome…
But I want to share with you three other miracles that occurred this week, much closer to home.
My best friend’s nephew, Keith, was driving down the highway when a semi-truck’s tire exploded right next to him.  All of the fragments of the tire went around Keith’s car and missed him completely.  He was able to drive away and head on to work.  I don’t know about you, but I would call that pretty miraculous.
Then the other day I was talking to my co-worker, Kimberly, checking in to see how things were going with her daughter, Mary.  Some you will remember that Mary was on our prayer list when she was hospitalized as a result of being shot in the back of the head.  After several surgeries; however, they were unable to remove the bullet lodged in her brain. 
At the time, it was uncertain if she would survive. But I am happy to report that she is doing much better than doctors would have ever imagined. 
She is doing so well that they are talking about sending her home in a few weeks after she completes an intensive therapy program.  Kimberly told me that one of the surgeons just kept saying that Mary should not have survived and that it truly was a miracle that she made it.
Knowing the God that we serve, I would have to agree, wouldn’t you?
And then there is Michael, my friend’s son who has been in the pediatric ICU at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital for over a month.  He was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia and although he was able to walk into the hospital on his own, it was not long before he was on a ventilator literally fighting for his life. 
His parents, other family members and friends have been by his side throughout this ordeal.  And two Sundays ago, more than 60 of us gathered in the atrium of University Hospital, right under Mikey’s window, for a prayer vigil.
It was amazing to see so many people from so many faith traditions gathered together with one common prayer in our hearts, “Lord, heal Mikey.” 
Prayers were offered in English and Arabic, by men and women, by the young and not-so-young.  It really was a testament to what we read in James 5:16b, “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective,” because I received a text message the other day which read, “Thank you dear God for this miracle.  He’s off the ventilator and dialysis, bone marrow came back, NO LEUKEMIA!  Praise the Lord Almighty.”
And when Mikey’s mom sent the text, there was a picture of him with his eyes wide open!
So, this morning, I simply wanted to give us some good news despite all the bad news that has been flooding the airwaves of late.  To remind us that even when things seem bleakest, we can still have hope.  Even after we have endured trials and tribulations, we can still find peace.  And even if life takes unexpected detours that bring devastating consequences, we can still take comfort knowing that MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!
Because remember when I said Job was a riches-to-rags-to-riches story?
After Job lost everything, children, homes, livestock, herdsmen and health; the closing chapter of the book of Job reveals that, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before” (42:10) And, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part” (42:12).
And at the very end of the book, we read, “After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years” (42:16 – 17).
But even if our lives never take the twists and turns that Job’s life did, it is still good to know that we can have hope because the Lord is just as faithful now as He was way back then.
In fact, in the book of Hebrews (13:8) we read, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever;” words that echo what we read in Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change.”
In other words, the same God that was working miracles in the lives of His people then, is the same God who is working miracles in the lives of His people now.
But for some reason, there are people who think that miracles are a thing of the past; that God got out of the miracle working business when the benediction was pronounced at the end of the book of Revelation.
Well, let me assure you, that is absolutely not the case. 
And that should fill us with hope, peace and comfort for the days ahead.  Because while we may not know exactly what the future holds, we can be absolutely certain of who holds the future. 
It is our God, the maker of heaven and earth, the giver and sustainer of all life, who holds us and the future in His hands.  And let me just say, you may be in good hands with Allstate, but there is nothing greater than being in God’s hands.
God is a great God and there is nothing greater than knowing that in spite of our flaws and failures, our sins and our shortcomings; God loves us so much that He gave us His Son and our Savior so that we can spend eternity with Him.
And that seems pretty miraculous to me.  Amen.
Hymn of Discipleship, How Great Thou Art #33.