"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of…
We often miss the good things God is doing in our lives because they are so normal we fail to see them. I drove home last night from a meeting without incident. It took about 40 minutes and I usually take it for granted that I am going to get from point A to point B, even though I know there are other people driving who probably shouldn’t. Some of them have been drinking. Some of them are drowsy. Some of them are just bad drivers who have reckless habits and don’t pay attention well. I easily forget that it is a divine gift to travel on the road safely.
On Easter Sunday this year, I was visiting my son’s church in Phoenix, Arizona. There were approximately 1500 people in the service and from what I could tell I didn’t know any of them, except for the members of my family and my daughter-in-law’s family. As we were walking out, I needed to use the restroom but I couldn’t tell where the men’s room was. I decided to stop a young man who was walking in front of me and ask. “Excuse me,” I said, “Do you attend church here regularly?”
He turned to face me and said, “No,” but then he froze and just stared at me. In astonishment he asked, “Aren’t you that Promise Keepers guy? Didn’t you speak at a conference in Lethbridge this past spring? My dad is a pastor up there and I attended that conference!”
I was now stunned because Lethbridge is way up north in Canada and I was way down south in Arizona. We had a great little conversation about how faithful God is and how connected the body of Christ really is. I was also profoundly reminded that every day of my life counts because I never know who I am going to meet next. It was a fun, but very normal, display of God’s ability.
The disciples were energized by a simple miracle in John 21. It was after the resurrection and they didn’t really know what to do with themselves. There was no manual on how to live after your rabbi had been crucified and then raised from the dead. In the absence of clear directions, a number of them decided to go back to what they knew–fishing. As they were returning from an ineffective night, they encountered Jesus in a succession of ordinary activities that could only be described as miraculous. Notice all the “normal” things Jesus did:
- He called out to them from the shore, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you
will find some.” (v. 6)
- When the disciples reached the shore, they found Jesus cooking fish on an open fire. (v. 9)
- Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” (v. 10)
- Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” (v. 11)
- After preparing breakfast, “Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.” (v. 13)
There is nothing uncommon about any one of these behaviors. They are all things we might say or do with our friends. But the context and the collection of events had an astonishing effect on Peter and the other disciples. So much so that “none of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord.” (v. 12)
As I travel on the journey of my life this week, I am going to keep my eyes open for the simple, ordinary miracles.