I will never forget the day. I was eating waffles at home in Yamagata. I had just taken a big bite while listening to a tape recording. The recording was from my Gifu, father-in-law’s baptism. My wife had tried to go to that very special service in Mie, but a big snow in Yamagata had closed the airport, and all we had was a cassette tape. As I listened to Otosan (father-in-law) speak of Jesus, and salvation, tears started flowing down my face. With a mouthful of waffles that I couldn’t chew, I cried. Never did I imagine hearing him say such words!
Two years after Otosan’s baptism, God called him home to Glory. But what I haven’t told you is, that miracle was a very long wait. Otosan was the eldest son of seven children, a very complicated situation, and Okasan (my mother-in-law) had prayed for Otosan’s salvation, year after year after year. She even gave up a couple times. She had even said once she thought it was hopeless, and decided she would just try to be nice to Otosan now, because he was going to have a terrible future in hell, forever. She would give up, but then she would start praying again. For years. Actually, she prayed, for 38 years. And then the miracle happened! And that is why I wept tears of joy while eating waffles.
Have you ever waited for a miracle and nothing seemed to come? Maybe you waited months, maybe even years, maybe you gave up hoping. Certainly, there really are miracles every day all around us that we don’t notice and do not realize. And sometimes we don’t notice them because there is one big miracle that we are believing God for, that does not come to pass.
Why? Why do some miracles seem to take so long? Or why don’t they happen as we hope? Perhaps, there is no easy answer, and there is no guaranteed formula. Each miracle is unique, and each is a mystery.
But one thing we can say for sure. The beginning of any miracle is to focus on God. As we focus on God, we learn a little more of what He is like, and hopefully one of the first things we realize is that He is far, far, unmeasurably far, greater than us.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Why didn’t Otosan get saved the first year Okasan was praying? We don’t know. Why not the fifth year? Or tenth year? Surely the twentieth year was a long enough wait? No, not even the thirtieth year…we could not see, we could not understand. God was at work. The miracle was brewing.
So, I encourage you today, keep your focus on God. If He has put some miracle in your heart, then as long as you keep your eyes on Him, He is at work (and maybe even when you give up!).
But there is something else you may not realize. In the process of keeping your eyes on Him, despite disappointments, year after year, you change, you grow, you really begin to see, and you my friend, become another one of His miracles.
Thank you for existing!