For some time, I have wanted to write letters of thanksgiving to God for the everyday miracles in my life. Perhaps He has been acknowledged and thanked, but I want these stories front and center as He is an amazing God.
One of the earliest small miracles happened when I was in 3rd grade. Being somewhat of a tomboy and very active, I always had various scrapes, cuts, and bruises. These generally made little impact on me, and I really took no notice.
My teacher happened to see that I had a red line running from my hand almost to my shoulder. I had gotten a hawthorn thorn imbedded in my left hand and had gotten blood poisoning. After the doctor took out the thorn and instructed me to soak my hand in Epsom salt solution, the line receded in 3 to 4 days back to normal.
I came to understand later, that had that red line reached the few more inches to my heart, I would have died. Looking back, I consider it to be God’s intervention and give thanks for his tender mercies.
“And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God who are called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28
We all love this verse, right? But do we really have any idea what it means? Certainly, I did not. In my mind, I translated the word “purpose” into “purposes”. As in, God has different purposes which are custom fit to each of us–or perhaps customized to different stages of our lives. The standard Christian response for our purpose here as Christians from the Westminster Shorter Catechism is this–”Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever”. In practical terms, what does that mean?
As a result of a challenge from a good friend to spend significant, good quality time with God in order to grow true communication and a better relationship, I have started spending bigger chunks of time with God. This has been such an adventure for me. The conversations seem a little more like true communication. Instead of my chattering incessantly to God, I am more clearly hearing some things.
Romans 8:28 is an example. Just reading it correctly, instead of rewriting it in my mind, was a good start for improved hearing. Also, I feel like I understand a more complete and practical explanation for our purpose from this verse: ”And I, if I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men to myself.” Jn 12:32.
My understanding of this verse was that when Jesus was lifted up on the cross in crucifixion, he paid for our sin as the perfect and sinless God-man. He did this to enable sinful humans once again to have a relationship with the triune God (like Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden before they rebelled). Jesus lived his life with his focus upon this one purpose.
At this present time, I think this is the same purpose that God speaks about in Rom 8:28. We are to lift up Jesus over and over so that he can draw men unto him. We are to speak of the wonderful things he has done for us personally, we are to talk about who he is, and we are to bring others in prayer to him so that he can draw their hearts unto his heart. This is a purpose that I can understand. It does glorify God and it does enable us to enjoy him starting now, in this present moment.