Maybe I Just Can’t See

I met Kelli several weeks ago. In her early twenties she struggled through a tough battle with cancer. As she endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy Kelli consistently prayed two prayers—that she would be able to resume her passion as a triathlete and that the doctors’ pronouncement that she would never be able to have children would be proven wrong.

The cancer and chemo completely zapped her physically. Years after being declared cancer-free, Kelli could barely walk any significant distance. Doctors confirmed that she was unable to become pregnant. She was of course grateful for healing, but wondered about the answers to her other prayers.

When I met Kelli, sixteen years after the treatments ended, she had just completed her first triathlon. She beat her “dream time” by more than fifteen minutes. Perhaps she was inspired by a special cheering section that consisted of her husband and the two young children to whom she gave birth.

I believe God answers our prayers. I’ve heard very smart people describe those answers as YES, NO, and WAIT. I think there’s another possibility.

I’ve been thinking about the notion of a one-degree miracle. Perhaps God answered Kelli’s prayers immediately with a one-degree miracle. Perhaps her path changed and it took sixteen years to perceive the radical, but gradual, alteration that led her to a place of such great joy.

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

God often works like that. God promised a child to Abraham and Sarah when they were probably in their seventies, and they waited nearly twenty-five years for Isaac’s birth. The Israelites entered the land of milk and honey more than six hundred years after God’s promise to Abraham. Simeon served his entire life in the Temple before he beheld the Messiah. God seems to operate in terms of long-term trajectories rather than sudden u-turns.

So if He doesn’t seem to be responding, perhaps the answer isn’t NO or WAIT. Maybe He’s doing the new thing we seek right now, but we can’t see His answer from our limited perspective. Maybe He wants us to trust and follow the path of a one-degree miracle.

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site

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