“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
Have you ever been astounded by God? I mean, has he ever just surprised the ba-geezers out of you with something He does and knocked your socks off in awe when it happened?
It can be as personal to you as a Godwink (those moments when you realize God showed up and orchestrated something JUST for you…the person you absolutely needed to see in that moment, a song on the radio that brings you immediate peace, a glimpse of something that reminds you He is near and in control?)…
OR it can be something a bit more grand, say a Godwonder?
A miracle, even?
This summer, as I was reading through our current study (Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg), I decided to take Margaret’s challenge and pray to be reawakened to the wonders of God in my life.
It started simply enough with this five-word prayer: “God, show me Your Glory”.
I HIGHLY recommend that prayer. Like, highly.
Little by little, I started to hear and see things around me that I had sort of become oblivious to: beauty in nature, “coincidences” in relationships, and miracles of all shapes and sizes in the lives of people around me. It was a beautiful thing. And my confidence in “Divine Expectation” began to regrow – especially for those around me.
For instance, my friend, Alicia prayed a very similar prayer before she headed out on a family summer vacation this year in Florida. That trip remains a highlight of their year! They experienced dolphins and manatees approaching them (in their natural environments, mind you – not contrived swim situations), and even happened upon a sandbar as the tide went out COVERED in a multitude of sand dollars – which they had only seen in souvenir shops and airport gift stores. I was SO excited for them!
And, if I’m honest, I was also a little envious.
In mid-July, my gorgeous girl and I headed to Florida to spend a little “R&R” on the Gulf Coast with my parents. We go once or twice a year, but this time, I felt God calling me to do something just a little different: GO TO THE BEACH!
(copyright Ella Connors, 2016)
I know. It sounds weird. We visit that area often so you’d think the beach would be a staple in our vacation “diet”. But you see, my Ella doesn’t like the beach. As a matter of fact, she hates it. It scares her. And it has scared her since she was little. Nothing dramatic ever happened to her, she just gets a bit panicked there. Overwhelmed. Uncomfortable. And so, for the last 10 years of visiting Florida, we’ve avoided the beach.
But this year? God was telling me – GO. And so I planned my trip, with DIVINE EXPECATION of meeting Him there. I’d go alone so Ella wouldn’t have to experience the anxiety and panic she always gets. She could stay at home with my parents and I’d spend my day there, waiting for Him to show up and show off for me, like He had for Alicia. I prayed for my own beach miracle: I wanted to encounter wild dolphins.
The morning I’d set aside for my beach trip arrived and, sort of last minute, my parents somehow convinced Ella to come along and we all packed up the car and headed to Anna Maria Island. This, I thought, was sign that God was about to unload a mighty miracle of dolphin family proportions!
We unloaded the car and set up half way between the ocean waves and a beachside restaurant where we planned to have lunch. Ella was determined not to get in the water, just collect shells with my mom. But me? Well, I was diving in head first to go find my dolphins.
After about an hour or so (and still no dolphins), I noticed Ella actually IN the water and reaching her hands down into the sand underneath, pulling up treasures to see, touch, and put back in. I smiled, of course, seeing how God had made sure everything was calm enough as to not disturb my dolphin search.
(Copyright Wendie Connors, 2016)
At lunchtime, we headed up to The Sandbar Restaurant. After eating, Ella and my parents decided to head back down to the beach for more shell finding and splashing in the Gulf. I stayed up in the shade to finish my drink, knowing we’d be packing up soon to head back inland for the day.
I thought about my prayer for my own beach miracle. I had been so sure He’d meet me there. I’d expected the dolphins, and while it had been such a great day, I have to admit that I was wondering where He was that day.
A nanosecond later, this verse bubbled right up into my brain:
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 29:13-14(a) NLT
“God”, I wondered, “I’m looking so hard. Where are you?”
I looked up and straight out into the ocean and my heart burst wide open into a million pieces.
Right there, right in front of me, was my beach miracle.
Ella was diving in and out of the waves, her eyes wide with joy and confidence.
My own personal beach miracle, my very own “dolphin” daughter splashing and laughing and unafraid and begging me with her crazy waving to come swim and dive with her in God’s beautiful ocean.
That day, I swam with my wild dolphin (or turtle, as the case may be… 😉 )!
(copyright Wendie Connors, 2016)
Girls, we need to learn to believe God for miracles.
In doing so, we also need to stop praying for what we think they should look like. Our God is not limited to one kind of miracle. We tend to sort of box Him in when it comes to divine expectation because we cannot even imagine the wonders of which He is capable.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)
I don’t want to be the kind of person who boxes Him in. I need to remember He has infinitely more than one miracle up His sleeve, more than ONE miracle with which to bless me.
Yes, sometimes He shows off with glorious ostentatiousness, like Alicia’s entire sandbar full of sand dollars! And yet other times, He quietly blows our minds by loosening anxiety’s grip on the heart of a teenage girl, and sets her free to glide and flip and dive through the water like a dolphin, reminding us that His goodness and grace in granting miracles cannot be contained.
How about you? Would you be so bold today to pray that five-word prayer: “God, show me Your Glory”? He wants to amaze you, girl. Let Him.
Here’s a link to our favorite song this week: “Anything Is Possible“, by Matthew West! Also, if you are reading the Wonderstruck book with us, read chapters .000 and .001! You can also complete Week One in the participant guide if you are working at Level 4! See you back here next week as we explore the Wonder of His Presence! So good, right?!?!
Peace, love and WONDERFULL joy!