Dear Pastor’s Wife: When “Miracle” Is a Foreign Word

Dear Pastor’s Wife,

It was one of those normal days, taking Tiny Daughter for one of her follow up appointments with the surgeon after her collar bone break this past summer. I stepped up to the smiling receptionist and handed her my appointment paper.

She began checking the computer records with my paper to make sure things matched- names, phone number, birthdate, etc. When she got to our address, she stumbled and fell.

“MY-rakle……mEE-RAK-le…….my-RA-kle.” It took me a few seconds to realize that she was trying to sound out the word “miracle” in our address.

“Miracle Acres Lane,” I said, quickly helping her. She finished checking and entering our info and sent us to the waiting room.

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. I’d just met a person who did not recognize the word “miracle.” And we were in the Bible belt, of all places. How could this be, that someone was so unfamiliar with that word? Even sadder, I realized it probably meant she had no instances in her life to which that word could be ascribed.

As I pondered this scenario of a gal who met this word like she would a word in another language, I thought of us as pastors’ wives.

Often in our long seasons of life and ministry, miracle becomes a foreign word. We sink into the pain, we slog through the mundane, we crush under the load of trials that seem to have no end in sight, even after long years of endurance.

“How long, God? Isn’t it enough suffering yet?”

We wrestle with the irony of God’s upside down ways, and miracle seems more like a cruel taunt that’s out of our reach, than it does a welcome joy that lifts our hearts above the abyss.

I’ve been there. You have too. Maybe you are there now. It’s coming Christmas season, and the twinkle lights and festivities only seem to enhance the reality that you’re living in.

Your womb and arms are still empty, your bank account is still dry. Your ministry looks more drama maintenance than it does discipleship and Christlikeness. Your friend still has her back to you, and your dream has still not come true. Your life is still topsy turvy and you’re still absorbing massive amounts of criticism and attack. Your plans have gone awry and your diagnosis remains the same. Oh, there are many black curtains that veil the miracles we long for.

“Am I the only one who doesn’t get miracles?”

I’m here to tell you that I know this pain of yours. I know the tears, the deep agony, the gut wrenching feeling that won’t leave. The wondering if God actually knows what He’s doing by leaving you in this crazy situation as long as He has.

I wish I could promise you that your hoped for miracle is on the way. But I can’t.

I can’t promise that to you, and you can’t promise that to me. And it’s not because we are hopeless or realists or that we have resigned ourselves.

It’s because the Miracle has already come. Emmanuel. Yes, even in those places where it looks anything BUT miraculous. We don’t do cliches around here, so before you find your thoughts slipping into cynicism (it’s so easy, isn’t it?!), can I deliver a quiet reminder and a {perhaps difficult} challenge?

The quiet reminder: Jehovah Shammah. The LORD is there.

THE LORD is there.

The LORD IS there.


He’s present in that situation of YOURS. He’s in the details, working. He’s in the prayers, listening and answering in His time and way. He’s in the tears, catching each one for his bottle. He’s in the groans which can’t be uttered, interpreting.

The {perhaps difficult} challenge: Tell God that you BELIEVE Jehovah Shammah- that He is there. This isn’t based on feelings or even evidences. This is based on faith.

“God, You are here in this place, in this situation, in this ache, in this longing, in this friendship, in this ministry, in this marriage…..{you fill in the blank.}  I cannot see You here- it feels like You’re not here. It feels like death, when I desperately need a miracle. Open my eyes to Your presence, to the reality that Christ is only and always the fullness of the Miracle I seek. Give me Your treasures in these hidden places as I seek You. Show me the miracle of You.”

Will bells sound and curtains draw back and the stage of your life change? Probably not.

But little by little, through the ache and the pain and the loss, God Himself will give you your personal miracle. You’ll recognize it as the sweetness you’ve shared together. You’ll see His life changing work in the deepest parts of you, and you’ll know.

“Meer-a-cle.” Such a familiar and beautiful word. Not foreign at all.


A Kindred Spirit