New Life Notes #2 – Miracle Man

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them…

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called

But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

– Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:1 & 5:13-14

 

Miracle Man. That is what some of the hospital staff were calling me after I awoke from my five days of intensive-care slumber. One doctor had told my son in a quiet and candid moment early in my stay that my chances were not good citing a statistic that something less than 5% of all those who fall to heart attacks at home survive. Nevertheless, through the efforts of the doctors and nurses, and through the prayers of so many, many friends in Christ, and by the grace of God I awoke. Some might have felt more comfortable calling me the “Statistically Improbable Man,” but Miracle Man is what stuck. One young man, a nurse in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit I believe, whom I had never seen before (but he apparently had seen me a few times while I was unconscious) stuck his head into my room. He had a big smile, and he said how good it was to see me up and conversing with people. Another nurse shared how she had been praying for me all week. And another told me that people like me, who need and receive life-giving care and who eventually get back onto their feet, are why he decided to go into nursing. There was a certain joy shared by those whose efforts had come together to produce such a miraculous and positive outcome. I was their Miracle Man.

Now the interesting thing to me is how easy it was for me to be this Miracle Man. I was unconscious and then I woke up. The doctors and nurses and other hospital staff did all the work. I simply received what they gave. And because I awoke, I was treated as though I were something special. Nothing easier.

But then things got more difficult, much more difficult. Now it was time to submit to and endure major surgery. Having survived the hit of a heart attack, now I was called to live in a manner consistent with the work done on my behalf. It would have been unthinkable for me to simply wake up and go home. The issues that caused my heart attack had not been addressed. Nobody wanted my heart to fail again. The Miracle Man who simply awoke needed to become the Miracle Man who works out his gift with fear and trembling.

If I try to remain the passive Miracle Man, I will deny the miracle and lose its effects all too soon. I must act.

I needed surgery, and this involved various uncertainties, discomfort and pain. There was annoying respiratory therapy. Within a day they had me standing which I didn’t really feel like doing. Then walking. Then walking a little further. There were pills I didn’t want to take. Each day I am getting stronger, but the difficulties continue to this day.  And they will.

It probably will not surprise anyone to hear that all of this makes me think of some very basic realities of our faith in Christ.

Have you heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, and have you responded in faith by trusting in Him for salvation? That is His work. You have awakened. It is a miraculous and positive outcome. You are a Miracle Man, a Miracle Woman, a Miracle Boy, a Miracle Girl. And our Lord rejoices over you. And He treats you as though you were something truly special because you are truly special in Him. And all you had to do was receive what He freely gives. Nothing easier for you.

This new reality of grace is absolutely secure in Him. Those our Lord Jesus saves are saved. Period. The Miracle endures. But this new reality calls us into a life that is anything but easy. We must live in a manner consistent with the miracle work accomplished on our behalf. There are things to do—reject sin and embrace righteousness in our behavior each day—that we may find uncomfortable, maybe even painful at times. Miracle Men/Women/Boys/Girls who simply awoke need to become the Miracle People who work out His gift with fear and trembling… and joy and hope and peace and love.

If we try to remain the passive Miracle Men (imagining ourselves “saved” so we can live according to our own self-centered desires), we will deny the miracle and lose its effects all too soon. But our Lord will not let us do this. He will not allow us to lose the effects of His miracle salvation. To Him alone be the glory forever and ever.

Your fellow Miracle Man,

Pastor Jay