A Christmas Miracle
By Karen Thompson
The four-part series on idioms is done. I hoped you enjoyed it. The next series will be on the topic of Jesus’ two-fold calling as both king and priest. It’s an exciting topic, and I can’t wait to show you some really cool things in the Word. But before we start, I thought I would offer the testimony below as a sort of “palate cleanser.” It’s a way to transition from one topic to the next. Enjoy!
Miracles Aren’t Always Splashy!
One of my favorite Christmas movies is the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart. It’s a feel-good movie that gets played every year around the holiday season. The most dramatic scene is when the lead character, George Bailey, gets in trouble. Everything in his life had fallen apart. He lost a lot of money and was being chased by the police who were hot on his trail. In his attempt to flee the police, he found himself on the bridge. Desperate, he decided to end it all and jump into the icy water below. Clarence, the angel sent to save him, jumped into the water before George. In the water, Clarence began to yell for help. George jumped in to save Clarence. The scene then switched to George and Clarence drying off in the bridge station. Clarence is trying to figure out how he can save George when George suddenly snarled, “I wish I had never been born!” That’s when Clarence realized he could save George by letting him experience a world in which he had never been born. Clarence said, “You’ve got your wish!” Suddenly, it stopped snowing. And a fierce gust of wind blew the door wide open. George was now in a world where he never existed! A miracle had just taken place.
In the movies, we always know when a miracle has taken place because it’s always accompanied by some kind of special effect: a soft light shining down from heaven, a heavenly tinkling sound, or a dramatic gust of wind! But in real life, none of that happens. Sometimes a miracle can take place and you don’t even realize you just experienced a miracle. That’s what happened to me and a friend.
To tell the story, we must travel back in time to when the world was a little bit primitive… to a time without cell phones.
It was the holiday season and my friend, Kathy, invited me to travel with her to Nebraska for Christmas. Her car wasn’t in peak condition, so her friend, Cal, loaned us his truck to make the trip. After he gave us a little tutorial about where everything was on the truck, we threw our suitcases in the back and started our trip. Because of Kathy’s schedule, we had to drive after it was dark… in fact, in the middle of the night.
We had been on the road for a few hours when, suddenly, we blew a tire! No problem, we thought; we can figure it out. How hard could it be? So we looked for the spare tire… and looked for the spare tire… and looked for the spare tire…
Where’s the spare tire?
It was the one thing Cal didn’t tell us about in his tutorial. It was the middle of the night, like 2 a.m. We were in farm country, far away from any city. Cornfields were on either side of the road. There wasn’t a farm in sight. The only building we saw was an old abandoned rural airport in the middle of a cornfield. We hadn’t passed another car in a long while. What do we do? Of course, we prayed. And then we sat in the truck. Waiting. And waiting.
All of a sudden, Kathy said, “I’m going to walk over to that old airport building and see if there’s a phone in there.” Out the door, she went. It was really dark out. Pitch black. As I watched her walk away into the cornfield, my only thoughts were that it looked kind of scary and that it was an exercise in futility.
After a while, I wondered what she was doing. Did something happen to her? It shouldn’t be taking this long. I began to peer more intensely into the darkness. Finally, she appeared out of the dark and was walking back to the truck. Whew! She got in. “Help is on the way,” she said.
Here’s her story. She walked up to the building. It wasn’t any bigger than a large shed. Two by four’s were nailed across the windows so she couldn’t see in. She walked around to the front door. Surprisingly, it was ajar. She pushed it open and peeked inside. It was, indeed, an abandoned rural airport. She saw an old flight schedule up above a counter. Thick cobwebs hung from the ceiling and a dense layer of dust was on everything.
Waiting for her eyes to adjust, she slowly scanned the room. A telephone! She went over to the counter. It was one of those really old heavy, metal rotary phones before they made plastic ones. With her finger tips, she picked it up gingerly and brought it close to her ear.
A DIAL TONE!
She decided to call the operator. (In the olden days, children, you could dial zero and someone called an operator would answer and provide callers with assistance.) With her other hand, Kathy slowly dialed zero for the operator. It rang. She heard a voice. “Operator. How can I help you?”
Kathy explained to the operator our predicament. She asked, “Is there someone that can come help us?” The very sympathetic operator replied, “Yes. I can call the sheriff to come out and help you. I just need to know your location. Do you know where you are? Are you calling from a farm house off the highway?”
“No,” Kathy replied, “I’m using the phone at the old airport.”
“That’s impossible,” she said, “that airport is closed and hasn’t been in use for over a decade. That phone isn’t hooked up.”
“Well, it is an airport and it is closed down, but I am using the phone on the counter.”
“No,” the operator insisted, “that’s impossible. The phone was shut off when the airport closed. You’re mistaken.”
Kathy described the building and everything in it. The operator said, “The door and windows of that building have been boarded up for years. How did you get in? Did you break in?”
“No, the door was ajar. I just pushed it open,” said Kathy.
The operator was skeptical and didn’t believe Kathy. She thought she was mistaken or confused. Kathy insisted she was at the old abandoned airport using the phone on the counter.
After going round and round, the operator became adamant: “You can’t possibly be using the phone at the old airport! It’s not a working phone!”
By this time, Kathy didn’t know how to respond. Feeling confused, she said meekly, “But… I’m using it.”
Realizing they were at an impasse, the operator finally agreed to send the sheriff to the old abandoned airport to help us.
Within minutes, the sheriff arrived and showed us where the spare tire was and helped us change it. It was in a weird place. We would never have thought to look for it there. We thanked the sheriff for his help and went on our way.
Here’s the strangest part of the story. Kathy and I didn’t recognize that God had just performed a miracle for us. In fact, two miracles. Not only did He hook up the phone, but He made sure the door was unlocked! We were oblivious to the miracle we had just experienced. And it actually took a long time before I realized we had experienced a miracle. At times, I ponder as to why I missed something so obvious.
Perhaps we’ve been too conditioned by Hollywood to expect a special effect to let us know when a miracle takes place. There was no soft light shining down from heaven, no heavenly tinkling sound, and no dramatic gust of wind! Maybe we didn’t realize we had experienced a miracle because we were focused on our situation.
I don’t know… None of that really explains how we failed to recognize a bona fide miracle when it happened. But every time I reminisce on our experience, I get a warm feeling inside knowing what our God had done for us!
One last thing. There are lessons to be learned in this, for sure. Lessons like, when we call upon the name of the Lord, He answers. No matter where you are in the earth, God’s got your number. He knows right where you are and what kind of help you need. Just call upon His name and He’ll be there.
Those are all good lessons… But there is another spiritual lesson to be learned from this experience. There was an ingredient that was necessary in order for us to get a miracle. It took stepping out. A lot of people pray for a miracle from God and then wait for the miracle to come. Sometimes, you need to take a step of faith. God hooked up the phone for us, but if Kathy hadn’t stepped out, we would never have experienced our miracle. There’s no telling how long we would have been waiting in the truck had Kathy not gone inside the abandoned airport. Maybe you need a miracle right now. I don’t know your situation, but perhaps you too need to take a step of faith.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas. This blog is my gift to you. It’s okay to re-gift it!
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The beautiful winter sleigh ride water-color painting is courtesy of Gail Vass. She is an award winning artist and a signature member of the Minnesota Water Color Society. She is a Christian who loves God and desires to use her painting to bring glory to Him. If you would like to see more of her paintings, visit her web site at http://www.GladArt.net.
4 thoughts on “Sometimes to Get a Miracle, You Need to Take a Step of Faith”
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Thank you, John!
I love your miracle story, Karen! So good about stepping out in faith through the darkness.
Thank you, Gail!