When the holiday season begins, I get a little bit sad.
Because holidays are family times, and our family, even when we all get together, is no longer complete. There's a hole, and it's present every day, but it's never quite as noticeable as it is when we are drawing names for our gift exchange, or planning who will be cooking what on Thanksgiving, or hanging ornaments on the tree.
When I get sad, and my heart misses my sister, I usually find comfort in the Word.
Confession: It hasn't been working lately. I'm in a Bible study group that is going through the book of Luke (my favorite gospel) and recently we've been reading a lot about the miracles Jesus performed while He was on earth.
I love reading about His mighty power displayed in people's lives.
Until we get to a story of Him raising someone from the dead.
A lump fills my throat.
My heart races.
My jaw clenches in an attempt to keep it from shaking.
There's something inside me that has a hard time reading those stories.
Because, when my sister died, we prayed that God would raise her from the dead. And I believe that He can still do that miracle, and I had faith that He could do it for her...but He didn't.
And so, even though it's not rational, whenever I read about Lazarus, or Jairus' daughter, or the widow of Nain's son...I get sick to my stomach, because I am trying so hard not to ask Him,
"Why couldn't you do that miracle for ME?"
It's impossible to understand. It's too unimaginable to accept. The God of the universe, the ultimate Creator, the All Powerful I Am...chose not to heal my sister of her brain hemorrhage, even though thousands of people were praying for Him to do that very thing. And He chose not to raise my sister from the dead. Even though I know He could have. Even though I asked Him to.
He had great compassion on the widow of Nain, and he raised her son from the dead. (Luke 7:11-15) He told Jairus not to fear, to just believe, and He raised the little girl up again. (Luke 8:40-56) He told Mary and Martha "Your brother will rise again." And then...Lazarus rose. (John 11)
Did He not feel great compassion for my family? Was our grief not great enough? Were we not afraid enough to move His healing power? Were we not good enough friends of His to warrant a death-defying miracle?
These are the hard questions, the ones I don't verbalize because they're ugly, and because I know, logically, what the answer is.
But, oh, how hard it is to swallow that I didn't get my miracle.
Today, something happened.
A reminder. A whisper from my Savior.
I met a wonderful woman today, a friend of a friend who is in the middle of reading my book. And even though she hasn't finished it yet, she told me that it is ministering to her heart, and rejuvenating her faith, and she is so inspired.
A lump filled my throat.
My heart raced.
My jaw clenched to stop it from shaking.
I wrote the book to tell the story of my sister's life, and to spread the story of His work in the life of anyone willing to walk His path for them.
If she hadn't died, I never would have written the book.
And if I hadn't written the book, people wouldn't have been able to read her story, and be inspired by her courage and love and passion.
And their lives being changed by one simple girl's story...that's a miracle.
And a sweet wonderful woman being moved to tears as she tells me that she can't wait to meet Joy in heaven...that's a miracle.
And the real miracle, the one that I can't stop crying over today, the one that He keeps whispering to me...she isn't really dead at all.
I GOT my miracle.
And I got so many more miracles that I never even asked for.
And people's lives are changed...because she died...because she lived for Him.
"Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this...?" John 11:25-26