Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Jesus heal it

My daughters are extremely tuned in to the owies of the world. Rachelle's aunt is quite certain that Melía is destined to be an ER nurse, given her fixation on skin wounds. "Lou dot owie wight dere?" asks our little angel of mercy, pointing out even the most minor scratches and scars.

She is even more proud of her own ouchies. Owies guarantee sympathy and a reasonable chance of getting a princess band-aid applied, complete with medicine. But it also sets her up for a declaration of a miracle a couple days later. Peeling off the band-aid, she sticks the wounded finger in your face, beams and announces, "I ha' owie wight dere, but it all done, betause Jesus heal it!"

Never is a wound healed, but that Jesus gets credit from our daughters. When they announce this, I catch myself wondering, "Who taught them this?" I'm delighted to hear them say it, and suspect that indeed, Rachelle and I have taught this to them in our better moments.

But the purity of the attribution puts me to shame. I'm the guy who preached a sermon in college called, "If Miracles are Real, Where's Mine?" I've been looking for loopholes that explain God's relative inactivity in the miracle department all my life. And here are my daughters testifying to a wonder that I have long been overlooking.

Tonight at the coffee shop, my friend Dave and I were looking at a couple miracle stories in Matthew 8, and it was striking to see how people came for healing in full belief but without the sense of entitlement we that too often marks our most urgent prayers. They knew Jesus could do whatever he chose to do, but allowed him the freedom not to. They were expectant, but not presumptuous. They desperately wanted help, but unlike others who demanded a sign and were denied, the leper and the centurion did not need God to prove anything to them.

On my end, I play it much safer. Loathe to expect too much of God, I often expect too little. I exaggerate humble submission to God's will until it's a mere cowardice to ask, fearful that I'll ask for the wrong thing, be denied and go home with less faith than I began. To this self-censorship, I add blindness to the miracles that do happen every day. This leaves me searching the Scriptures for reasons to trust God not to do much of anything tangible in the world.

Not so for the Bennie girls. For them, the mere application of the band-aid is a prayer for a miracle that three days later, they know will be real.

Melía: "I ha' owie wight dere, but it all done, betause Jesus heal it!"

Mike: "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief."

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