diary of grace

Shipwreck or Miracle?

It’s been a long time since I’ve written— long for a lot of reasons. God has been taking me through depths I could barely understand myself, never mind share with the world. Kinda like He sat me down in the dark and said, “Right now is time to be still and let me work miracles in your heart. Be silent and listen. You will share, but not yet.” I did. And now that I’m catching bigger glimpses of light again, I can’t help but stand in awe of the miracles He worked in the dark. It’s time to share— time to write again. It started back in January on a sunny Monday. It was my day off and He’d put this longing in my heart to take the day to have special time with Him. We were talking as I walked trails when He brought the question clearly to my mind, What do you want most? I listed a few natural human desires but I knew that wasn’t all. He probed deeper… What do you really want most? I knew the answer. I wanted Him. I wanted to love Him like Abraham, experience Him like Enoch. I’d always wanted that. That’s when He challenged me. Then why don’t you have that? I’d never thought of it that way. I mean, they were patriarchs. Like, heroes of the Old Testament. I couldn’t really have that could I? I’m just a little girl working in the hills of California and the world I live in is totally different to the one they lived in. I knew His answer though. Why can’t you have that? I’m the same God. He was right. It wasn’t that there was anything incredible about Bible heroes. It was all their God. And He’s mine. So what was I waiting for? I knew the answer to that too though. To go that deep with Him would mean living an unusual life. Even more than I already do. It would mean being misunderstood… crossing people’s will… standing up for what I knew He was asking me to do. And honestly, I’ve been afraid of those things— afraid to rock the boat too much. Someone has to rock the boat though. Capsize it even. And if He’s asking it, why not me? My heart trembled as I walked. I whispered it quiet, “Jesus, you know I can’t do anything alone. We both know I’ve tried before and failed.” It won’t be you, kid. It’ll be me. You just have to follow. Eventually that set my heart at rest. I wasn’t faithful but He was. If He was asking me to walk a road that led me deeper, it would be possible. It always had been in the past. And so I said yes. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was saying it to. But I knew Who I was saying it to. It was then He turned my world upside down. I mean, literally— at least that’s how it felt. Starting two days later. First it was one treasure I had held onto tightly for years that He started to tug at. Just as I was adjusting to this pulling He started tugging on another that went even deeper. Then He removed it altogether and I started, shocked that He had actually done it. For weeks I floundered, trying to hold His hand and process and wait and love Him in the middle of what looked to me like the shipwreck of my boat. Each moment I fought to just remember there was love on His face even now. And then one day when I was fighting especially hard I set out walking again… this time across the snowy fields along the road by my family’s house in MT. I told Him everything and He listened, so patiently like He always does. There was no flash of lightning but by the time I was done, I knew one thing. He was working and I just had to wait and trust— and say yes. Sleepless nights weren’t as restless after that. The dark hours I spent staring at the ceiling were no longer restless but peaceful. I knew that He could turn even shipwreck into glory if that’s what He wanted to do. The funny thing was that every single time I would start to get comfortable again, He would take something else or ask something else that sent me spinning again. Next He asked for my dreams… all of them. And the couple doors I had told Him I wasn’t willing to open or face were the exact ones He pointed to. I didn’t think He could be serious, but then again, I hadn’t thought He could be last time either. So I let Him open them and just clung a little tighter to His heart. Just when I thought the sun was starting to shine after that, He asked for more. And then more again. Somewhere in the journey though, I started opening up to it instead of fighting it. And that’s when I started to sense the glory. Sure, this was everything I had said I couldn’t handle. It wasn’t looking anything like I had expected. But it was beautiful nonetheless. Sure, journeys like this are painful but they are the most packed with growth and healing. I couldn’t help but sing. The sleepless nights, the long walks, the dark hours that seemed like they would never end, the constant surrendering… I saw it change right before my eyes from the worst thing that could happen to me to the best thing. It wasn’t the coldness of God but rather His deepest compassion. I walked the path around my fountain over and over again and my prayer started changing from pleas to get through, to gratitude that I was allowed to walk this road— to see God at work like this. It was on one of those sleepless nights that I started to ponder the meaning of a miracle. We look back at the healings of Jesus… The time He touched the leper and he was whole. The day He stood outside Lazarus’ room and called him forth. The little girl He gently woke up from the slumbers of death. We praise Him and proclaim it a miracle. And it is. But what about when He takes away? What about when He allowed Job to be stripped of everything he had? What about when He permitted His beloved David, the king of Israel to run for his life from the face of his son? What about when His dear John was thrown into a boiling caldron of oil? What about when His servant Paul had his head chopped off? Was if His working in those stories a miracle too? Really, what if we viewed even the most heartbreaking parts of our lives as miracles because of His promise to use them for good? God didn’t take all Job had, but I am confident that when it was all said and done, Job would have affirmed that the things God taught him in the storm were nothing short of a miracle. God didn’t cause the martyrdom of His beloved disciples… but walk up to them in heaven as they meet all the people who are their because of the way they were touched by such sacrifice and ask them if it’s a miracle. It struck me hard at eleven pm. Any marked working of God can be a miracle if we embrace it. Even the painful things. When that struck me, I couldn’t help smiling. I was going through week after week of miracles. Sure it hurt, but I had never seen God work so clearly in my own life. I couldn’t help but stand in awe. After that, when His working left me alone and silent, I’d smile. This was a miracle. This was glory. Not that He wanted to allow my pain, but that He could transform me in it and turn my ashes to beauty. Last week I found myself sitting on a dock on the edge of a lake in Oklahoma and contemplating everything He had taken— and everything He had given. It was then my heart soared with the knowledge that though He take almost every treasure, I was content walking with just Him. I’d found happiness in a new place. I hopped over rocks as I walked around the lake and I knew that I really was content and happy without so many of the things I loved most and that if He kept them forever I could be perfectly fulfilled. It was just over twenty four hours later that He gave something back that I thought was long gone. I think often He works like that. And I’m ever so glad He does. The joy of the sunlight is not to be compared to the lessons I learned at midnight. Loss isn’t loss at all… it is simply Him making room for something greater. Giving up my dreams is no sacrifice… it is just Him clearing my horizon so He can fill it with His own destinations. Taking all the treasures from my hands isn’t emptiness after all… it is just so that He can fill the hole with His very own hand. Turns out, it wasn’t shipwreck at all. I had put all the pieces of my little boat together wrong and it wasn’t floating like it was meant to. The only way to make it all right was for Him to let it be blown apart so that He could start over and make it Himself. I don’t know about you, but to me… that is a miracle.

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Hannah Rayne

​22. INFJ. Lover of Jesus. Dean. Bible Teacher. Graduate of Masters of Biblical Counseling.

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