Miracles Are God's Department
(Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash)
We mothers must take care of the possible and trust God
for the impossible. We are to love, affirm, encourage, teach,
listen, and care for the physical needs of the family. We cannot
convict of sin, create hunger and thirst after God, or convert.
These are miracles, and miracles are not in our department.
Ruth Graham Bell
When you think of Franklin Graham, do you think of a prodigal? No, of course not because he isn't one...now. But he was. Ruth Graham raised five children, and Franklin was one of them who was a prodigal for a time. These five truths on prodigals from Ruth Graham Bell's book, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, are worth listening to. She says,
1. It's important to have a plan
Franklin was adventurous and mischievous as was his mother. He says in the book, The Prodigal Son Comes Home, "My mother was going to insist that I got up in time to get to school at a proper time, so I started locking my door so she couldn't come in, and she started sliding firecrackers under the door. She thought that was fun." Grahams boyhood grew into a young adulthood of rebellion; he lived the "fast life." He smoked, drank, got in fights and admitted trying marijuana. His family sent him to Stony Brook, an elite Christian boarding school on Long Island, New York. He dropped out and was later expelled from another school, LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas, for keeping a female classmate out all night past curfew.
Keep communications open at all times.
Let them know they are loved and welcome at home, always.
Permit the children to disagree with me, provided they do it respectfully. (And I find occasionally they are right and I am wrong).
Make a clear distinction between moral and non-moral issues.
His dad also was concerned. Franklin writes about a trip to Switzerland in 1974 he was on with his dad. Billy talked to his son about the direction of his life. Looking him straight in the eye he said, "I want you to know that your mother and I sense there is a struggle for the soul of your life, and you're going to have to make a choice." These words troubled Graham as he continued to travel Europe with a bottle of scotch in one hand. One night in a hotel room in Jerusalem, Franklin's life changed. He describes his epiphany in a passage from his 1995 autobiography, "Rebel With a Cause: Finally Comfortable Being Graham." That night instead of going to the bar for a couple of beers, he found himself alone in his room reading through the gospel of John."When I came to the third chapter, I read not just that Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born again, but I also grasped that Franklin Graham had to be born again as well" ("The Prodigal Son Comes Home")
2. Your own walk with God must come first
Ruth learned this lesson when her son, Franklin, and a friend, were planning on going on a dangerous trip. She said she needed to recommit her life to God before she could ask that He do that for her son and his friend. "I prayed, 'Lord, You take care of them. I need to settle some things in my own life with You.' " It is unrealistic to ask the Lord to do in someones else's life that which we are unwilling for Him to do in ours. That day, Ruth settled things with God and the load lifted, and peace came.
I too have had to learn this lesson. God is using this time to teach me so much about what it means to put Him first.
3. Worship and Worry cannot live in the same heart
The previous story is an excellent example of a time when Ruth could have chosen worry rather than settle things with God. Worry comes so easily especially when we see our prodigals living a life we don't approve of. One night when Ruth was traveling far from home, she was awakened in the middle of the night, thinking about one of her prodigals. So she turned to Philippians 4:6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer
and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Suddenly, Ruth realized the missing ingredient in her prayers was "with thanksgiving." She put down her Bible and spent time worshiping God for who and what He is. She says even contemplating what little we can comprehend dissolves doubts, reinforces faith, and restores joy. She continues, "I thanked God for:
giving me this one I loved so dearly in the first place
the difficult spots that taught me so much
That's when it happened for Ruth. The"lights in her mind and heart turned on and the little fears and worries that had been nibbling away in the darkness like mice and cockroaches hurriedly scuttled for cover." That's when she learned that worship and worry cannot live in the same heart. They are mutually exclusive.
4. There is always hope
I have written about the importance of having hope many times. Hope sustains us and keeps us believing for the best God has. Ruth says, "If I lose heart, how can I be of any help?" Knowing God's promises is invaluable.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
5. Miracles are God's department
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who
seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
This verse pretty much says it all. Our hope is in the Lord who never changes. He is good to those who seek Him. So why wouldn't we put Him first? When we are confident is God's plan, we will worship Him, and worry won't stick around. We will wait quietly for Him to grant salvation. After all, salvation is a miracle and miracles are His department. Trusting is ours.
You ever seen a brother or sister who could cure a disease I hadn't but I wanted to Show the world that nothing's impossible if they can believe They're gonna see a miracle I didn't know what to do So I went running to you To find that cure Now I know for sure... I'm done looking around I finally figured it out It's more than metaphysical You got me up from down Faith has shattered my doubts I believe in miracles I knew what I wanted to do but just like gravity's pull I always did the opposite Life was a meaningless party I started to fall into a bottomless hole But then I got a miracle Some people don't have a clue If all of this could be true But take a look at me I was blind but now I see I'm done looking around I finally figured it out It's more than metaphysical You got me up from down Faith has shattered my doubts I believe in miracles There's something that's missing If we can't recognize That our own existence Is the miracle before our eyes I'm done looking around I finally figured it out It's more than metaphysical You got me up from down Faith has shattered my doubts I believe in miracles I'm done looking around I finally figured it out It's more than metaphysical You got me up from down Faith has shattered my doubts I believe in miracles It's more than metaphysical