Jacob came in to pediatric ICU the day after Ellia was admitted. He was in the room next to us. His head had been shaved to prepare him for the brain surgery he needed. He had suffered massive head injuries when the car in which he was riding ran into a tree. I spent hours with his family day after day. They were scared, sad, and angry. I felt confusion and guilt when Ellia was moved from ICU to the floor. Why did our kid get to come out? During our stay, two other kids in ICU died. Jacob was declared brain dead. I felt like God still wanted me to pray for him, but I felt weird praying for someone who had no brain activity and no real chance to come back. Every day, I spoke with his family. Every day, I cried with them and hurt with them. Every day, I listened as this family expressed deep affection for this 12 year old brother, cousin, nephew, grandson and son. I began to pray for a miracle. Jesus’ time on earth was spent inaugurating the kingdom of God. This meant righting the wrong. Jesus walked in to a huge trashed out house. The floor is destroyed, the windows are boarded up, the walls are filled with holes from angry, drunken fists. He begins to move through the rooms, cleaning up the broken glass, picking up tables that have been thrown on their side, taking down the boards one by one to let in the brightness of new beginnings. He is righting the wrong. He goes into a crowd, seeing blind people and lame people. He touches, restores sight, gives strength to broken legs, picks up people who have been thrown on their side, taking down the boards that are suffocating human hearts and letting in the brightness of God’s light. He is righting the wrong. He goes into a village where what you own matters and you must demonstrate your spirituality. He sees those ignored because of their socio-economic status or gender or occupation. He speaks value to women, invitation to Gentiles, freedom to slaves. He is righting the wrong.
Miracles as I have understood them are inexplicable movements of a supernatural and divine force. I always thought that Jesus performed miracles to prove that he was supernatural which intimated that he was God. Part of this is true. Miracles did point to Jesus’ divinity, but not for the reason to which I had previously held. N.T. Wright says that miracles are less an alien force being imposed on the earth as much as Jesus setting things right. Miracles showed that Jesus was God, not because of their supernatural nature, but because they were acts through which Jesus was making the world as God intended it to be. Sometimes this meant speaking to Gentile women, sometimes this meant giving the blind sight. The miracle was not just in the healings, but in esteeming and including the outsiders. Jesus’ work with the hemorrhaging woman was not just a miracle because she stopped bleeding, but it was a miracle because Jesus loved her as God loved her. In his actions and words, he was initiating the kingdom of God here on earth.
Jacob was supposed to be declared dead on his 12th birthday. His dad decided to wait to remove life support. The next few days, something unbelievable happened. Jacob began to breathe on his own. The swelling in his brain went down. He opened his eyes. A few days later, he grabbed at a tube in his head. This is a miracle. Jesus is righting the wrong. But, had there not been physical change, I still could say that I witnessed a miracle. I saw a family press in to the reality of a loving God. I saw a dad realize for the first time that he is the dad God chose for Jacob. I saw grandparents treasure their grandchildren and a family unite with newfound tenacity. Jesus is righting the wrong.
Medical miracles are astounding. Emotional healings are equally incredible. May we pay attention to Jesus as he pokes holes in the darkness and stands souls upright as the kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.