“I never wanted to walk that road again.” Tears well up in my eyes as I listen to my own shaky voice recount the story about the struggle and the miracle. It’s been quite some time since I’ve watched this four-minute version of my story. I close my eyes and remember the waiting parts, the longing parts, the heart-wrenching grieving parts.
“But, we trusted Him and took a step of faith.” My own words transport me back to a time when two people, hand in hand, took scared steps because He said so.
Watching yourself tell your own story helps you realize what you left out. I love that my story includes an unexpected miracle. But today, I want to talk about the part I’ve never shared.
I want to tell you about the other miracle I almost missed.
When God whispered to me, “I’m not finished here,” I never thought He would ask me to walk the same path I swore I’d never set foot on again. I couldn’t understand why He would ask me to return to a place that had been so painful and devastating. He could have grown our family another way.
I never, ever wanted to be pregnant again.
It was too risky. I never wanted to experience the grief again. I didn’t think I could endure the weight of the fear caused by all the what-ifs. My husband felt the exact same way. But, God asked us to trust Him. So we went.
Something happened as we went, and I knew I’d never be the same again.
My heart’s response was “I trust you, Jesus.” It made no sense. I knew that I had little to do with what was happening on the inside. Whatever this was about, it had to be bigger than a baby. It had to be about more than just our family.
An entire year later, after many setbacks and failures, we found out that God really wasn’t finished yet. He reached down and handed us an unexpected gift that caught our entire family by surprise: a baby no one thought was possible. Not even me.
The road to pregnancy wasn’t paved with certainty. God didn’t remove all the hurt, but He guarded my heart and used each and every step to change my heart in miraculous ways. He wasn’t asking me to take a step to test my faith; He was asking me to take a step to grow my faith.
Those scared steps I took in faith led me to the sacred ground of transformation.
Our sweet baby girl is eighteen months old now. She’s the miracle everybody sees. She’s the miracle we photograph and measure each month as she grows right in front of our eyes. Every child is a miracle that points us to the Giver.
But a subtle, hidden miracle was taking place simultaneously. This miracle grew out of my absolute and undivided trust in the One who was leading us. It’s the miracle every single one of us who have trusted in Jesus will experience over and over again throughout our lifetime.
Jesus saves us once and for all, but He is never finished rescuing our hearts.
These miracles are so easy to miss. They aren’t measurable, and they’re often complicated, yet they happen every single day in the hearts of believers. These miracles happen as we walk towards Jesus.
There is a story about a missed miracle in the seventeenth chapter of Luke’s gospel. Ten lepers met Jesus on His way to Jerusalem. They stood at a distance and cried out to Him by name.
Leprosy was an incurable disease and was regarded as an awful punishment from God. The disease would gradually spread, taking over the entire body little by little. These ten men were begging for a miracle.
Maybe they had heard about all Jesus had done. Maybe someone had told them about another man whose leprosy immediately left when Jesus touched him. (See Luke 5:12-14)
I would have been expecting the exact same miracle that Jesus performed on that guy. For Him to touch me and heal me exactly like He had done before. My request would’ve involved something predictable and controllable.
I would’ve wanted a miracle I could measure.
When Jesus saw them, He spoke words that must have made their hearts sink. I can tell you I would not have known what to do with these six words: “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
The priest’s role was to inspect the leper in order to determine if he was clean or unclean. If he was unclean, he had to live outside the city. A leper couldn’t communicate with anyone inside the city, and he couldn’t be touched. To be pronounced unclean was a horrible thing. (See Leviticus 13 and 14)
Jesus told these ten men to go back and stand where they once stood when a priest had pronounced an impossible verdict. He asked them to return to the same place where their reputations were painfully marred. He asked them to return to the origin of their isolation, the place where shame and hopelessness intersected.
Jesus said, “Go there.”
I wonder if they felt like I did when God asked me to return to the place I vowed I’d never again go. Did they weigh the risks involved with putting feet to that path? Did they rehearse their past heartbreak or relive the devastation?
I wonder what made them decide that this Jesus could be trusted.
These ten men went where Jesus told them to go. We don’t when or how or where exactly on that road it happened, but Scripture tells it beautifully: “And as they went, they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:14-16 (emphasis added)
Cleansed. Healed. Two different words that might seem like synonyms, but to the Greek ear, they would have sounded very different. These words were chosen carefully to communicate a bigger story.
The Greek word for cleansed is katharizō. It means “cure, purify,” indicating that the man’s skin was no longer covered with leprosy. The word translated as healed is the Greek word iaomai, which means “made whole.”
Somewhere on that path, one man recognized that his skin as well as his heart had been transformed.
Jesus said to the man, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:19 (emphasis added) He could have used the word cleansed or the word healed, but Jesus used a completely different word, sōzō, which means “saved.” Jesus was saying, “Faith in me is your salvation.”
The fact that this man was a Samaritan was a big deal. Jesus was declaring that salvation was not only for the Jews but for Gentiles as well. Jesus came to save the entire world.
Many Jewish people in Jesus’ day were obsessed with asking for a sign. They were wrapped up with what God could do for them. Like me, they wanted miracles they could measure. The people in Jesus’ day missed that God had given them the greatest miracle of all time. They didn’t understand that nothing else could ever compare to all we’ve been given in Jesus Christ. Sometimes, we act just like them.
That day He met the lepers, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. He would ride into the city on a donkey and crowds of people would hail Him King. Many of those same people would cry, “Crucify Him,” by the end of the week. He was on the way to the cross to make an impossible situation right. He was on His way to restore broken hearts and pave the way for us to be made new.
The miracle begins when a heart plagued with mistrust makes the choice to trust Him.
If a leper’s condition improved and he was pronounced clean by the priest, a sacrifice was needed to restore him to the community. When Jesus spoke to the man who returned, He was revealing His authority. Jesus is the Great High Priest as well as the sacrifice. His blood is the only thing that can cure our leprous soul.
But Jesus doesn’t stop with cleansing us. He walks along the muddy path with us. He never, ever stops miraculously healing us from the inside out.
Only one out of ten recognized the miracle. Nine missed it entirely. I don’t want to be part of this statistic. I love to share how God grew our family and did the impossible, but what I cherish most about that path He led us down is how it changed me.
Trusting Jesus changed me and will continue to change me until the day I meet Him face to face.
When I think back to those words God whispered to me more than three years ago, I sense a whole new message. “I’m not finished here,” meant He would grow our family, and He has been so faithful. But as I stare at the words on my screen today, I realize that He also meant He wasn’t finished with me.
Let it be said of all us: They trusted Jesus, and a miracle happened as they went.
Jesus loves you,