Monday, March 20, 2023

The Deafening Roar of Minor Miracles

Suggested Reading: Daniel 3:8-27 (or read the whole story: Daniel 3)

The story goes of a man who was a known smuggler who crossed the border every day. Every day a border agent would stop him with his wheelbarrow and sift through all of the dirt inside the wheelbarrow, but he could never catch the man or figure out what was being snuck across the border. Every night, the man would walk back across the border empty-handed and come back the next morning with a wheelbarrow full of dirt. Eventually, the border agent gave up, never realizing the very thing being smuggled across the border was a bunch of wheelbarrows. Sometimes we miss the most obvious things because we are focused on the dirt.

In Daniel chapter 3, I recently noticed a miracle that I don't believe I've ever seen anyone call attention to. Daniel 3 is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who are thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to worship the king's idol. Now, miraculously, they survive the furnace which is so hot that the guards who toss them in are killed while walking around with one who looks like a son of the gods. There are two miracles right there but the miracle I noticed was a different one.

We used to live in an area where we had to burn our own trash. One of the things I have learned is that fires can be loud. And the bigger the fire, the louder they get. But King Nebuchadnezzar had ordered a furnace, which was already a massive fire, heated seven times hotter than normal because he was so angry, so the roar of this fire was deafening. Then, when he realized the three men had been saved by their God, we read this: Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. (Daniel 3:26, NLT) How in the world did Nebuchadnezzar make himself heard over the roar of that massive fire, especially when those three men were in the very heart of the flames?

Granted, compared to being saved from the fire itself, the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was somehow heard isn't all that impressive, but it should have been no less impossible. Yet, of the dozens and dozens of times I have read that story or heard it taught or preached, I've never heard anyone ever mention that. It was a minor miracle that is easily overshadowed by the other events of the chapter. But it was still a miracle.

How many minor miracles occur in our lives that we never notice because they are overshadowed by more prominent events? How is it that a stop light can change the entire course of your day, starting off a chain of events that can last for years to come? Or think about that check that God laid on someone's heart to write two weeks before the need was even realized? What about that morning your alarm clock didn't go off because God knew you were going to need the extra sleep that day? Or when you make a choice to follow the Spirit's lead and the things you sacrificed to obey God end up working out anyway?

We continually experience "minor" miracles that are overshadowed by the larger events of the day. Thank God for those miracles, and try to keep your eyes open for God's "minor" movements in the future. Most of the time, we have more to thank God for than we realize.

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