This is a true story about a miracle. I think miracles happen every day, but we’re too busy and distracted to notice. Every now and then, though, something marvelous catches our attention. It may not even be dramatic, but it breaks through our usual deafness.
I usually start my day with a cup of coffee. When Neil was alive, he often delivered a steaming hot mug to me in bed. Sometimes we went outside to the patio, but frequently he sat in bed with me and we chatted about the day ahead. After he died, I missed those morning moments more than anything else. Gradually, I learned to fill that time with prayer, and began to chat with God instead. (I’d love to say the miracle was that God brought me coffee in bed, but no, that’s not it.)
The morning conversations with God worked well during the summer,when sunshine and warm breezes streamed through the open window and made waking up easy. After the autumn nights started to lengthen, and it was still dark at 7:30 am, I had a much harder time. I hate getting up in the dark. The snooze alarm was winning, and I was running out of the house at the last minute, stressed by missing my time with God and still feeling exhausted. One evening, I prayed, please God, help me get up on time tomorrow.
At about 10 PM that night I noticed my cell phone wasn’t working. It was fully charged, and had been fine fifteen minutes earlier, but all I could see now was the dreaded black screen. This was a big deal. Like most people, my phone has all my contacts, pictures, music and lots of important information. Oh no, this can’t be happening, I moaned. I pushed all the various buttons to no avail, and convinced myself not to panic. From the home phone I called my oldest daughter to see if she had any suggestions. The call went straight to voicemail, so I left a message. Proud of myself for my intentionally calm attitude, I decided to trust God to help me figure it all out the next day, because now it was bedtime. However, that presented another problem: I didn’t own an alarm clock. My phone was the only alarm I ever used. Without it, I knew I would never wake up in the dark.
I opened my computer and tried to figure out how to set an alarm on it. I wasn’t sure it worked, so I also set the timer on the kitchen stove to go off in nine hours. Afraid that wouldn’t be loud enough, I pulled out my old iPad. I was able to set the alarm, but then the battery died. I plugged it into the charger but it didn’t look like it was working, either. Finally, I phoned my middle daughter, and begged her for a wake up call at 7 AM. She wasn’t thrilled, because it was a rare morning she could have slept in, but she kindly agreed. I went to bed and finally fell into a fitful sleep. Sometime after midnight my oldest daughter called back. “Mom,” she said. “Try pushing the home button and the side button at the same time.” Voila – no more black screen! I thanked her happily, set my alarm and went back to sleep.
Fast-forward to 7 am. My cell phone alarm rang as usual. In the same instant, Jacquelyn called to wake me. The iPad had charged during the night after all and bleated piercingly. The computer chimed incessantly, and from the kitchen the oven timer blared like a fire drill. The noise scared the dog, who jumped onto the bed with a combination of loud whining and barking. Needless to say, I was wide awake! God had literally answered my prayer loud and clear.
But the story doesn’t end there. About a week later I noticed a new app on my cell phone. I clicked to get a “Go to Bed” reminder at 11 pm, and requested a gentle musical “Time to wake up” reminder at 7 am. The peaceful song was much more pleasant than the blaring beep I was used to. A few days after that, I received a foreword from a friend about starting new habits. It recommended trying to replace a bad habit with something new, instead of trying to use sheer willpower. That makes sense, I thought, and encouraged by the idea, figured out how to put the coffee pot closer to my bed than the snooze alarm. And lastly, daylight savings time ended and mornings were light again. All these things worked together to put my wake-up habit back on track.
It was only later that I thought about all this in perspective. Sometimes God answers our prayers in loud dramatic ways like the cacophony of my alarms. But that wasn’t the only miracle. Sometimes God is more subtle – a new app on a phone or a wise text from a friend. I might not have noticed those miracles had the obvious one not opened my eyes first. What a good reminder to pay attention every day. God is always at work, in the big things, and in the little ones.
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