By: Gabriela Yareliz
This past week, I was listening to a “Pocket Pardon My French” podcast, by Garance Doré, about the meaning of success. This is a word and yardstick that tortures young adults and adults, alike. It’s the stuff children’s dreams are made of. Garance spoke about how true success, to her, is knowing and taking care of herself.
Someone on the podcast made a point that really made me think. The woman said that sometimes we forget, especially those of us who aren’t from NYC, that just the fact that we live, eat and breathe in a city that is tough on even those who have always been here (and tough on anyone who isn’t rich)– this is a form of success. Having a job, a home and a meal in a city like NYC, at a young age, is accomplishment. These are the “givens” in life that perhaps we take for granted. Perhaps, this, in and of itself, is a miracle. With the way the rental market and job market are in this city, living in this city is a miracle for those who want to accept it as one.
I was reading in C.S. Lewis’ book Miracles that miracles are often not so radical as we think them to be. They can be simple things, and therefore, it can be reasonable to believe in them. Allow me to explain using an example he uses: the virgin birth. (Not the typical “simple miracle” you probably expected me to refer to)…
Christians believe in a God who became incarnate to rescue us Himself from sin and the separation from God we had chosen. Some may argue the idea of a virgin birth is too far fetched or a radical miracle. (Despite the fact that it was to be a prophetic indicator of the Messiah).
C.S. Lewis explains why it’s not so “odd”:
How is it that a child is “generated,” so to speak?
“A microscopic particle of matter from his [a man’s] body, and a microscopic particle from the woman’s body, meet.” Miracles, 224
This we know. I just like how it’s explained.
And there, in these particles are features and characteristics that have been passed down for generations.
“Behind every spermatozoon lies the whole history of the universe: locked within it lies no inconsiderable part of the world’s future.” Id.
“If we believe that God created Nature… The human father is merely an instrument, a carrier, often an unwilling carrier, always simply the last in a long line of carriers– a line that stretches back far beyond his ancestors into pre-human and pre-organic deserts of time, back to the creation of matter itself. That line is in God’s hand. It is the instrument by which He normally creates a man.” Id at 225.
“No woman ever conceived a child, no mare a foal, without Him [God].” Id.
So, if we believe God created Nature and created us, we recognize that God has always been behind the creation of man. God has placed things in Nature to make such a thing occur, yet still, each human being is a gift from God. A creation of God. Each birth, its own miracle.
And regarding the virgin birth and why it is believable:
“But once, and for a special purpose, He [God] dispensed with that long line which is His instrument: once His life-giving finger touched a woman without passing through the ages of interlocked events. Once the great glove of Nature was taken off His hand. His naked hand touched her. There was of course a unique reason for it. That time He was creating not simply a man but the Man who was to be Himself: was creating Man anew: was beginning, at this divine and human point, the New Creation of all things. The whole soiled and weary universe quivered at this direct injection of essential life– direct, uncontaminated, not drained through all the crowded history of Nature.” Id.
Similarly, when Christ turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana, we see that God is always the provider of all things. It is because of God’s blessing that vines grow grapes and wine can be made. So, therefore, why do we complicate the miracle? Does not wine and all things come about through the same hand?
The point C.S. Lewis makes is that we see such miracles as radical acts, when really, all things come out of the hand of God. Even when they arrive to us through Nature, a system God has put in place. What makes a miracle is not the source of the provision, but simply the fact that God is injecting Himself, His hand, without the “glove of Nature,” as C.S. Lewis likes to call it.
And so miracles, can be simple and undramatic if we recognize how the universe ordinarily works. It made me wonder, what in my life was I taking for granted? Am I expecting some miracle in dramatic proportions? Where have I seen God inject His naked hand to bring me to some point or to transform a situation?
Maybe, it took me reaching month 8 out of 12; and reflection of what success really means to me; realizing I live in a city that demands success to even make it out alive– that I realized I am living perhaps a miracle of my own, even in what I thought was ordinary. I realized I may be in a pretty fantastic place in my life.
Despite my struggles and the things I have yet to achieve– here I am, and I wouldn’t be here without God holding me and bringing me here.
So on this 8th month, I declare that 2016 has challenged me, but I am happy to say, I have stood up to the challenge. That has to count for something. Incredible things have happened. No virgin births *grin* but I know there have been moments where God’s naked hand has injected itself in my life. We truly live in God’s presence.
I am learning to appreciate the ordinary miracles (a paradox, I know)… Or maybe, this means that not much is ordinary.