You’ve probably heard the story of the man whose home is slowly being engulfed by floodwaters—how he waited, first on his porch, then next to a second floor window, then on the roof, and waved off his would-be rescuers because he knew for certain God was coming to save him. And then he drowned. Died, dead, alone on top of his house. When he stood before God, he cried out, “Why didn’t you save me, Lord? I waited for you?” And God rolled his eyes (probably) and said, “I tried to save you, child. I sent three people to rescue you, and you turned them all away.”
It has never been as obvious to me as it is now, almost a year into a global pandemic, that we are God’s hands and feet here on this earth—that he uses us to rescue each other every day. Don’t get me wrong—there are a lot of things about God that I do not understand. I get frustrated with him sometimes, and I ask a lot of questions, and I am often disappointed by the way things turn out. I’m only human, after all. But I am very clear on this one big thing—that constantly waiting around for God to save us (be it from a flood or from Covid-19) is an exercise in futility, because ultimately we are already rescued. Yes, he is capable of things we cannot fathom, but one of his biggest moves was giving us each other. He works miracles for us, through us, every day, and we often miss these miracles because we are standing around waiting for the skies to open up.
Between 2014 and 2019, my family went through a very difficult time. There were many days when I felt the weight of fear and despair so heavy on my soul that I did not even know how to ask God for help, and yet, I cannot for one second deny the thousand ways I saw him at work in our lives during that time. About a year into the hell that tried to wreck my family, something major occurred to me: there was no easy, quick resolution. We would have to wait for it. I had been hoping for a Red Sea-level miracle, but I was having trouble making the trip from Egypt to the parted waters. The trip between enslavement and freedom was just too long for me, and I wanted it to be over. I wanted to be magically transported to a time when all the pain was gone.
But we just kept waiting. We waited. And we waited. And it was during those in-between times that I saw true miracles occur: the plot twists and subtle understandings and weird timing and real talks that took place along the way—these would eventually be our salvation. There was no earth-shattering thing that happened for us, no huge event that turned the tide. The miracles were ordinary things and people, seemingly small, random moments. They were things we could have easily missed. I came to understand that those are the miracles God deals in nowadays. No Red Sea miracle is coming. You might think otherwise, but I’m not interested in a debate. What I’m interested in is something that feels painfully clear to me as Covid continues to ravage our country: the miracle has already been worked, but some of us are still expecting the earth to shake.
It’s no secret that I have taken the threat of Covid seriously. I have read articles and studied data. I’ve taken the advice of disease specialists and our family doctors. I have carefully assessed the risks of various outings and chosen only those that felt safe for my family. As a result, I’ve had my faith questioned because I have opted to listen to science and medicine during a global pandemic. I have been accused of living in fear because I am following recommendations that have proven effective in other countries. Others like me, who are adhering to science, have been dismissed, disregarded, and deemed somehow spiritually defective because we are not running around maskless crying out “FAITH OVER FEAR.” But trust me when I say that my faith is as strong as it has ever been. I can trust God and trust scientists at the same time, because I believe one created the other for this very moment in time.
We live in an age of miracles. They are everywhere. Vaccinations are a miracle. Chemotherapy is a miracle. Heart surgery is a miracle. Friends and lovers and children are miracles. Pediatricians and child psychologists and even some lawyers are miracles. Seatbelts and airbags are miracles. Drug rehab programs are a miracle. Doctors and scientists are miracles, and you are a miracle, and I am a miracle. Dolly Parton is a miracle. God created us with the ability to care about each other, to solve problems, to look for cures and invent ways to make the world better. What if, in this moment, the miracle is the act of wearing a mask and staying close to home with the people we live with because we care about each other? What if the miracle is that someone, some medical professional or team of scientists, has figured out the best course of action to end this pandemic? What if the miracle is for us to just follow that course of action without complaint? Honestly, to live our lives any other way is to squander God’s miracles carelessly.
It is not a big leap, friends. We are about to reach the roof, and God is sending us a rescue, but we are still having game nights and big family gatherings and waiting for the big announcement that Covid has vanished from existence. We are wearing masks only when a sign on a door tells us to, and only for as long as someone says we have to—and not because we want to be a miracle for every single person we encounter at our jobs, in our churches, on our weekly grocery runs. I’m sorry, but this is selfish and un-Jesus-like and completely non-miraculous, and it is a choice many of you are making. I am sick of Covid-19, too. But I am also sick of Covid-19 being compared to things like car accidents and lightning strikes, which, incidentally, most of us protect ourselves against by wearing seatbelts and staying inside during thunderstorms. I want our lives to return to some semblance of normalcy, too, and we’ve been told how to get there. And told, and told. The water is rising, and the rescuers are here. Please, for the love of miracles, get in the boat.