When Time Seems to Stand Still

As I promised a few weeks ago here is one of the first articles I published on SE Calgary News. Miracles are something which I’ve always had a tuff time wrapping my head around but I must admit to the wonderment of just how God intervenes and commits such acts in our world. Do miracles exist? I may not be able to understand everything but yes, I do believe miracles happen. Here is the article.

It was last week when my in-laws from Ninette, MB clipped the story of Demetrius’ adventure out of the Edmonton Sun while visiting with other family in the area so that they might bring it down to Calgary and share it with my wife and I while staying with us for a few days.

Little three year old Demetrius, like so many times before while on family visits to the park, dawned his sun cap and shades while climbing aboard his treasured battery powered Chevy Silverado and headed off on a quest to find adventure. It wasn’t until a short time later that his parents realized Demetrius had disappeared from view. Where had Demetrius gone? What if he is in trouble? Where do we look? What is going to happen next?

It is that moment which many of us have faced before. The moment of fear and uncertainty in a situation or life event which in most cases feels as though time seems to come to a complete stop. Time seems to stand still.

Two thousand years ago things were not that much different. After a long day of listening to Jesus speak on the side of a hill and feeding over 5000 people, the disciples decided to climb into a boat and sail across the Sea of Galilee to find some peace and quiet.

Half way through their journey though the winds were causing the sea to be quite rough and the disciples were stressed to say the least. Time was at a stand still. All they could think of was arriving safely on the other side.

Then while looking over the side they see a figure walking on the water. The impossibility of the moment startled them. How is this possible? How can the miraculous be understood? They cried out to Jesus and he said, “Do not be afraid.” as he climbed into the boat. (John 6:16-21)

The story leaves you with a question; “Do miracles really happen?” The question itself though comes with an expectation to an assumed nature or definition of the miraculous. Perhaps another more appropriate question might be “What is the miraculous?”

Perhaps miracles are not always found in cataclysmic supernatural and paranormal events or moments. Perhaps miracles and the miraculous occur when we are willing to see the extraordinary providence of what would be ordinary moments.

It seemed like forever was passing by to three year old Demetrius’ parents as they sat huddled together with the police and emergency crews around them. So many friends, family, and even strangers were out looking for the little guy while calling out to him from the many bike paths and walk ways. Then the miraculous!
Demetrius is spotted by five men 12 km down stream sitting atop of his beloved overturned truck floating in the Peace River. He has lived the impossible adventure and finds deliverance in their rescue.

As straight-faced as can be, Demetrius looks at his rescuers and explains, “I made my truck into a boat!” I don’t know if little Demetrius turned his truck into a boat; or if God made him float; but maybe, just maybe, when time seems to stand still, miracles really do happen!

Chaos Theory and the Significance of Being

My friend Aaron made a post titled Wisdom Required not long ago and I felt led to leave a comment. These thoughts are still resonating in my heart and mind so I thought I would share them here also as they connect with the magic of Christmas.

I’ve been thinking about your friend and praying for him since we last talked over coffee Aaron. I realized I might have touched on something deeper when I said I wondered if there was something in behind his struggle of faith. Namely the painful struggle of questioning insignificance.

I ask this as I too myself struggle with this question of identity. Why should God care for me? Why should he care for the little insignificant actions I take in life whether they are good or bad? But then I think of the reverse; why should I care for God? Perhaps God thinks that what we consider to be insignificant he sees more as the greater significances. Perhaps what we see as ordinarily unimportant he sees as extraordinarily miraculous!

Have you ever heard of the “Chaos Theory”? (See Here) It is this idea that when a butterfly flaps its wings in South America, the wind created by these motions has the potential of becoming a Hurricane out in the ocean which in turn makes North American land fall. Perhaps this is how God sees us; not only in the physical sense but in the spiritual as well. Why should God care and love each one of us? Because each and every one of us has the potential of creating and experiencing great historical and eternal events, moments, and changes to His Kingdom!

Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree in Luke 21:29-33 that just as we witness the blooming of its leaves on its branches, we also can know that the Kingdom of God is near. God is not far off and he is deeply connected and close to all that we do. The question to choose then is, “What kind of hurricane do you want to create?”

In a sense I suppose that is the message of Christmas. From the insignificance of a baby born in Bethlehem came the Savior for all man kind. In another paraphrase by an unknown author, “The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world.

A Season for Rejoicing!

Read this first: Ecclesiastes 4

15″I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king’s place. 16There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him.” – Ecc. 4:15-16

Most of us have heard the story of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and know the character of Scrooge. It seems like the spirit of scrooge is still alive and well if we look around at some of the people we encounter amidst the business of our Christmas holidays. A few years ago I think I had the most ironic and oppressive encounter with such a character while working in a Greyhound parcel depot here in Calgary.

To be honest I took the job thinking it would be fun and I would be a deliverer of blessings and joy to many over the Christmas season. It was anything but and possibly one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. There I was sitting in the back room with no windows and just a fold out table in front of me stacked with piles upon piles of parcel delivery slips and just a small space for me to put a phone on. I would phone hundreds of people a day, trying desperately to pronounce their names right as I advised them of their parcel waiting for them to pick up.

By the third day I was beginning to feel like I had lost all meaning to Christmas and the Spirit of joy had slipped away. So in an effort to rekindle the fires if you will, I decided to bring in a music box and play some Christmas music in the background. Things were going smoothly until the mid day when I heard some shouting out in the front of the depot.

I came out from the back room that I was in through the double doors to the front and found close to fifty people all lined up at the front desk and winding slowly back towards the outer doors with the snowy cold blowing through them as more people came in. Robin, a coworker and friend, was at the desk trying to help a gentleman with finding the parcels he expected to receive once he arrived at the depot which unfortunately were no where to be found and he was extremely angry that we did not have his expected parcels.

“What do you mean you do not have my &%*#@ parcels!” He would shout at the top of his lungs as he tore strips off of Robin. “Listen to me you little #$%^&; I want my parcels now!”

Now picture this as I sat there watching what was going on while listening to this:

 My heart wanted to just explode while the lyrics of the song rolled around in my head! Where was the love of Jesus? Where was the Christmas joy everyone was supposed to be celebrating? I was asking, “For whom is this guy toiling and depriving himself of pleasure?” (Ecc. 4:8)

I suppose it could be so easy to get wrapped up in the business of the season and forget the real reason we are celebrating. Christmas is more then presents, gifts, food, and the “Ooo’s” and “Ahh’s” of what did you give to so and so or what did I get.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus! Christmas is the season to rejoice in our King and Lord  who has no end to those he leads and all who follow (Ecc. 4:16). Christmas is the joy of knowing we received the gift of Immanuel (God with us) and it is through his blessing that we can stand in his place (Ecc. 4:15) and be given the glory of being in the Kingdom of God as his children.

All that to say I wish you All a Merry Christmas and a Season for Rejoicing!

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” – Matthew 1:23