The word miracle gets tossed around way too freely and thoughtlessly in this God-believer's opinion. I do believe in miracles if by that is meant concrete examples of the divine touching the mundane in order to make an impression. Too many personal experiences for me not to believe. Oh, not the Charlton Heston playing Moses and parting the Red Sea in grand fashion like in the movie The Ten Commandments type of miracle - but some things just seem too coincidental to be mere coincidence. That's what I mean by miraculous.
Take this story about 14-year-old John Smith, who was rescued from the bone-chilling waters of Lake St. Louise after more than fifteen minutes of submersion.
Doctors said he had no heartbeat for 45 minutes and called in his mom for her to say good-bye. Dr. Nancy Bauer said "He was gone; I've never felt someone so cold in my life." But instead of saying bye John's mom started to pray. And shortly thereafter, according to Dr. Bauer, his heart was beating again, giving her a case of the goosebumps.
And now John Smith is heading home! He feels the only explanation is God and that God wanted him to live.
Okay, this isn't the first or only time a person submerged in icy water is revived without brain damage. Not a miracle you think? But the timing - right after a mother's heartfelt prayer - surely is "miraculous" enough that some take it as a sign.
I once told the story on my previous blog of how my late older brother was diagnosed with leukemia as an infant, way before I was born. My parents were crushed and began at once to pray for his life. The next day the astounded doctors told my parents there was obviously a mistake and my brother didn't have leukemia and a death sentence.
At the time I related that, as a pantheist, I was inclined to write it off as a simple misdiagnosis. Perhaps it was. Perhaps not. But one thing is for sure, my parents didn't think it was a mistake. They felt God had answered their prayers. Either way - mistake or miracle - the impression made lasted a lifetime, and neither doubted the value of prayer thereafter.
As I wrote earlier, too many personal experiences have convinced me that God is in the details. The experiences of others impress me as well. For a time I allowed myself to forget. Life itself is a miracle and is filled with miracles, I believe, if we have a heart to understand.