Miracles cluster around us this week, with the calendar bringing both Easter stories of resurrection and Passover stories of liberation, all while the miracle of spring’s return shows up in the first buds and flowers. For all our emphasis on a scientific worldview and having tidy explanations for any event, we still may find alluring the possibility of a miracle showing up one day in our lives.
I once listened to a minister’s sermon at this time of year in which he discussed how, in his words, “we try so hard not to believe.” This switch is intriguing, since I am more often struggling with summoning up a capacity to believe, believe in the goodness of humankind, the capacity for healing, the depth and power of love. Yet the opposite, namely that effort is put into discounting when there might be a natural tendency to believe, to embrace the presence of miracles, may be a more accurate description.
For a miracle, however I might define such an event, flies in the face of all my notions of being in control, being able to predict and shape my experience. Belief in control is a comforting belief, one I hold tightly. So whenever something occurs to challenge control, my response is likely to be one of turning away, denial, refusing to accept that my control is limited (or nonexistent) and that the universe is filled with mystery.
Then comes Passover, describing how the Red Sea parted, as though all of nature moved in support of freedom and an end to the enslavement of the Hebrew people. Then comes Easter, describing how the stone was rolled away and the tomb stood empty, as though life, not death, would be the final word. Then comes spring, daffodils emerging from the cold ground, as though no amount of darkness and snow could ultimately hold them back. And all my notions of how things work start to fall away.
May we find ourselves willing, in this season of miracles, to work a bit less hard at trying not to believe, and instead yield to the invitation every miracle brings: the invitation to see that life is so much greater than we ever imagined.