Dark Miracles

Lightning StormMorning sun streamed in the coffee shop windows in such contrast to the dark conversation. My friend leaned on the small table between us, chin in her hands. Her mascara had begun to smudge. Rainbows swam in droplets on her lashes.  She looked away and blinked them off.
“Look for the miracles,” her voice was thick, “that’s how we make it to the next minute…”

The last of her sentence choked off. There was no air in here. I watched her face, the way her lips trembled. She had just arrived from her brother’s memorial. I knew how she felt. My mind slipped away to my house, to the multicolored streamers that still hung from the ceiling. My wife’s birthday party. The one we celebrated without her. She’d died a few days earlier. There were no words.

Why? It’s always the first question we ask. “Why, why, why?” God is silent. Or is he? As I reach for him and wipe my eyes, I began to understand.

Why? People make awful decisions and the rest of us struggle in the wreckage they leave behind.

Why does God allow it? Should he take away a person’s ability to self govern? Should he do to them or force them to do things they would never do? That is how one person dehumanizes another. Do we really want God, to enslave us and rob us of our humanity because we exercise it in ways that he did not intend? Wouldn’t God then be like the Hitlers, Stalins, and Maus of the world; guilty of all the evil we accuse him of?

Instead God does something astonishing. Suffering is linked with great destiny. Through it we find meaning and fulfillment we can find “no other way.” That’s what Vicktor Frankl says in “Man’s search for meaning.” He survived Auschwitz. He knows about suffering and loss. Think about it this way. We need a hero only when something terrible happens. What if there was a hero inside you, a bud waiting to bloom? If nothing bad ever happened, that hero would never appear. You could never become what you were destined to be.

Remember, evil can only touch the surface of you. Your heart and soul are yours. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning). As you invite God into the trauma and forgive the broken person that caused it, pain and frustration purify your soul. They boil out the fear and dysfunction which hold you back from peace, happiness, and your destiny.

The questions aren’t whys. They’re “you’re right here with me right? I’m totally safe no matter what it seems like right?” Papa says, “oh yes, precious child. Now do you trust me?” If we can answer, “yes.” If we can say, “do anything you need to,” then he’ll take worst thing and turn it into the best thing. He’ll take the dark prison of your pain and fear, and turn it into wings to soar into the sunrise.

It’s easy to be thankful for the comfortable miracles. Perhaps the hurt and frustration in our lives are the miracles we should be thankful for. The dark miracles.


  1. Hi Danny
    Your father was my best mate at school in China
    I first met you in 1970 in California then again in 1983 in Manila and in 2006 at your Dad’s 70th birthday
    I had not heard from your parents for a while because they had a lot happening
    So when we made contact this month I was saddened to hear about your tragedy
    I am encouraged to see and hear the way you are pressing on
    I pray for your family every Sunday
    I pray for God’s continued healing for you

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