I sat spellbound in church, listening to a visiting missionary. She told the story of another missionary’s wife she knew, and the dangerous situation the woman of God had faced.
Her husband was called to leave unexpectedly one day, leaving her and their children alone in their village. He told her to stay inside with the children until he returned. She agreed, wishing he didn’t have to go.
The day progressed without incident until after lunch. She glanced out the window as she washed dishes and saw angry natives surrounding the house. She knew what they intended to do.
They carried weapons. She had none. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
She simply gathered her children around her, and they knelt there on the kitchen floor, begging God to keep them safe. A few minutes later, they rose from their knees and looked out the window.
The natives were gone. Not a single one remained.
Days later, the mystery was solved. Her husband discovered the threatening men had run in fear from an army surrounding his house.
An army dressed in white.
The story sent chills down my spine. How amazing it would be to see the power of God in such a miracle!
I began to wish God would operate this way in my life.
Take last Christmas, for instance. My three sons and I made the 12-hour drive from Missouri to Wisconsin to visit my parents. A couple hours from our destination, my car started doing weird things.
The lights on the dash got dimmer and dimmer, and the car began to lose power. Wonderful. And it was cold outside. Very cold.
At this point, wouldn’t it have been awesome if God sent miraculous deliverance? As in, we snapped our fingers and found ourselves in my mom and dad’s front yard?
And then an angel mechanic would appear and fix my car. And while he was at it, he would transform it from a 1998 Ford Escort to a…well, something a little newer.
But that’s not how God operates.
Yes, He can and does use miraculous circumstances to deliver His children. We see many examples of God’s power working great miracles in the Bible.
But He also uses common, everyday grace to orchestrate deliverance for us.
Look at the life of the Apostle Paul.
If there ever was a man who deserved to be rescued by angels, it was Paul. But during his shipwreck, he floated to shore on a piece of wood. (Where’s my golden chariot, Lord? Wouldn’t that be an easier way to get to land?)
And when he had to flee for his life in Damascus, no angels appeared to whisk him away to safety. He was let down over the wall in a basket. (What do you think I am, Lord? Dirty laundry?)
We don’t see Paul thinking either of these things. We see a man continuing to serve God, thankful for the piece of wood and basket that brought about deliverance.
Last Christmas, God didn’t produce a magic portal or an angel mechanic to deliver me from car trouble on the interstate.
But He did inject just enough power into that little car to get it within ten miles of my parent’s house.
And He did help us get off the interstate and safely into a gas station before it died completely.
He did enable us to get my Escort jump-started again, after which we made it the rest of the way to my parents’ house. And He did send my uncle (not an angel mechanic, but pretty close!) to fix my car over the Christmas holiday.
Yes, sometimes God delivers through miracles.
But more often than not, He uses everyday grace to bring about extraordinary deliverance.
And it’s up to us to have a thankful heart, either way. 🙂
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)