God’s lesson for me this year is that He does not always give us the miracle we ask for, even if our faith is the size of a mustard seed.
As many of you who follow my blog or are personal friends or family know, my daughter was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. It was so very difficult to watch my daughter, once so full of life and energy, struggle just to get out of bed and to find purpose in living. We went through many counselors, many different medications, and many, many prayers. I was confident, though, that with the prayers of family and friends whose faith bolstered mine that God was going to cure Mary of her illness. Alas, God made it clear to me that this was not His will for her. Depression wasn’t going to define my girl, He assured me, but it was to be her cross.
We all have crosses. For some, it may be an illness; others, separation from a loved one. It may be a desire of the heart that has not yet been received, or a sin or fault that hasn’t been conquered. Suffering is as part of life as its joys.
Still, I was mad at God. I felt confused because it seemed that He broke a promise, and I know God is always true to His Word. After all, Jesus said, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will be able to say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” A mustard seed isn’t very big. Surely, I have faith the size of a mustard seed, and so does my husband, and the many family and friends praying with us. Thus, God should move this mountain called depression, right? No doubt He could. So, why wasn’t He?
In my anguished prayer, God once again made clear my thinking. The mustard seed verse doesn’t promise us that God will do anything for us. Jesus is assuring us that with faith, we will be able to do the impossible.
There were days when it seemed impossible that my daughter and her depression could coexist. Now, with the help of prayers and a bit of faith, she is not only living with her depression, but thriving once again. She has moments when the cross gets heavy, and she falls or wants to lay the cross down. That’s ok. But then, she gets back up again and carries on. In her weakness, she was made stronger than ever. The miracle wasn’t in the cure; it was in carrying the cross.
Miracles are all around us. They just don’t always look the way we think they should.
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How many people do you suppose walked past that stable and didn’t see the Miracle that lay within? Did the innkeeper know the child born in the stable was the answer to Israel’s long-withstanding prayer for a savior? The angels filled the shepherd in on Heaven’s secret, and after going to see the Babe in swaddling clothes, they “made known the message that had been told them about this child” (Luke 2:17). Surely, some curious people went to the stable to see for themselves. What would they have observed? A poor, pitiful, displaced family worthy of compassion, or a holy family deserving of awe and wonder. Some would have walked away touched by the miracle; others just walked away feeling sorry or perhaps even indifferent.
In the Temple, 40 days later, despite all the people that would have been there, only two recognized the Treasure presented there that day. Because of their closeness to God in prayer, Simeon and Anna understood the ordinary way that God was answering their extraordinary prayer.
I guess what I am trying to say is that there are miracles all around us. Miracles happen when there is peace in the face of an illness, or when an addiction is finally conquered. When someone so dear goes home to heaven and the emptiness left behind is filled with comfort, there is a miracle. And there is a miracle when a fragile, broken girl can somehow pick up a difficult cross and carry it. A miracle can be found in a poor, little Baby laying in a manger or in a small, white Wafer placed upon the altar. Prayer and faith the size of a mustard seed are what's necessary to grasp them.
Copyright 2016 Kelly Guest
About the Author
God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com. Kelly's book, Saintly Moms: 25 Stories of Holiness, is due out October 2021.