Part III – Pre-Miracle Tension
Almost a year and a half ago my husband and I along with our three boys started what would prove to be the most exciting but challenging adventure of our lives so far. In a nutshell we felt the Lord tell us to leave Texas, where we had called home for 12 years, and move to Tennessee. After months of prayer and seeking wise counsel, we began taking active steps toward moving. We encountered a number of obstacles that, had we not been 100% sure of God’s call, could’ve easily shut us down. But we powered through by His grace and on December 30, 2016 we pulled up to our new home and began settling into our new life.
I mentioned in the first post of this series that the word the Lord gave me for 2017 was MIRACLES and that all year long I tried to be intentional about looking for and even seeking after His supernatural stirrings. I spent time studying the miracles we read about in the Bible as well as His activity in our world today. I shared some of what I learned in parts one and two of this series regarding the kinds of miracles (both Biblical and current), with the main classifications being Expected and Unexpected, and the types that stem from those being Nature, Healing, Protection, Provision, and Salvation/Spiritual.
Today I want to focus on something interesting the Lord revealed to me shortly after our move; a particular window of time that takes place just before the Lord gets ready to work His wondrous magic. It occurs most commonly with expected miracles – mainly because with the unexpected kind, you don’t see it coming in enough time to even process things. I started lovingly referring to it as the “pre-miracle tension”. It’s that period of time leading up to the Lord doing something big, when the pressure of the need of a miracle gets heavier and starts pulling on our fleshly need to act and control. It can be weeks or even months, but just like pulling on a rubber band, the tightness starts to get really uncomfortable and we begin to question.
“Is He going to come through?”
“Did I miss something?”
“Is it too late?”
It’s in this place that we find ourselves at a crossroad. We can either give in to the tension, take matters back in our own hands, and start trying to fix things on our own since clearly we know better. OR we press through the tension, trusting that He’s about to make His big move, and wait for the prize. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the scenes leading up to the grand finale won’t require action on our part, but those will all be things driven by the Spirit and our confidence in Him, not by fear.
This played out huge in my own personal life just before our move. We put our Texas house on the market at the first of September fully anticipating a quick sell. I gave an end date for my church staff position of October 15th just sure we’d be moving shortly after that date. Well October 15th came and went and we still had no contract on our house. Well shoot . . . I undershot that a bit, but we were still believing for something to happen soon so we pressed on. The next thing we know, it’s Thanksgiving and still no offers – a bazillion showings but no offers. Enter “Pre-Miracle Tension”!
Stephen and I began having serious talks about where to go from here. We felt we had two options in front of us: 1) We could move forward with our plan, find a place to rent, move to Tennessee, and trust that the Lord would sell our Texas house before we run out of money; or 2) We could press pause, pull our house off the market, I find a temp job to make ends meet, then we try in the summer when the market is hot again. We took a few days to pray and we both felt strongly that we were supposed to stick with our plan to move before the end of the year, and did not have a peace about staying. So we set a date to pull out of Texas, began looking for rental homes, made moving truck reservations, and started packing boxes left and right. This was by far the more stretching time of the pre-Tennessee portion in our journey. On December 21st we signed a lease for a rent house in Spring Hill, TN. There was no turning back at this point. Then came Thursday, December 22nd. Our realtor texted saying a family wanted to see the house. It would help to know that at this point our house was in complete disarray. There were boxes literally EVERYWHERE. Part of me wanted to say no because there was no way I had enough energy left to even make pseudo-walkways for these people. But instead I asked our realtor to tell them yes but to also warn them that we are in full-on move mode so to keep that in mind as they walk through.
After the showing we trudged on with our packing and preparing for Christmas all at the same time. We went to my parents’ house to stop and celebrate Jesus’ birth for a couple days, then on Wednesday, December 28th the call to end all calls came in from our realtor. We had an offer! We looked it over and everything was clean so we signed. That was it! We were done! We were officially under contract with less than 24 hours to go before we pulled out of Texas! And wouldn’t you know it . . . it wasn’t one of the families who walked through our pristinely cleaned home, it was the family who saw it in shambles. I remember wrestling with the Lord about that season later on. I didn’t understand what else He needed from us. Our house was on the market, I had quit my job, I had unenrolled the boys from their school, and Stephen had made his remote transfer official. What else did He want from us to prove that we were doing this? And He gently told me, “Baby girl . . . I needed you to get rid of your back-up. I needed you to have no Plan B.” Up until the day we signed the lease for our rent house, we had a fall back to just stay in Texas until it sold. But once we signed those papers, we were locked in. And it wasn’t until that point that He was going to release His miracle-action-plan. I wish that I could say that I’ve handled all “Pre-Miracle Tension” moments with any amount of grace and poise, but the reality is that I’ve probably robbed myself of a number of miracles simply because I was unwilling to let go of the reigns long enough for Him to move. Not that our cooperation makes or breaks God’s plan or ability to follow through, but we certainly are able to delay or miss out on His best plan.
As I thought more and more on this idea of “Pre-Miracle Tension” and whether it’s real or just something I thought up to try and justify what I was feeling, I realized something very interesting. As you dig through multiple miracle stories in the Bible, you’ll find that a number of well-known recipients of supernatural handiwork seemed to battle this same frustration. Some battled well, others not so much.
* Take Abraham for example. Here we have a great man of faith who had been promised to basically be the father to a gazillion people who God would call His. The Lord came through for Him in ridiculous ways and, not once but twice, He lied and said that Sarai was his sister rather than his wife (Genesis 12 and 20). Instead of believing and trusting that God would protect Him in order to fulfill His plan, He went into self-preservation mode and did what he thought best. But he learned his lesson, because just a couple chapters over is where we read about Abraham trusting in the Lord’s promises deeply enough to place his own son, Isaac on the altar of sacrifice (Genesis 22). Don’t you know that the entire way up that mountain, he was at war with his mind over all the possible ways to get out of killing his son. But he pressed through in obedience and God came through.
* How about David? Oh sweet David! But in the particular instance I’m thinking of, he actually made the right choice early on and got to see the Lord act mightily. Just before his battle with Goliath, King Saul tried to get him to wear some of his armor in order to give him more of a fighting chance, but David, choosing to trust in God’s plan opted out of the armor and went with his slingshot and five stones (1 Samuel 17). And wasn’t that ending so much more powerful?
* An interesting case is the story of the men who lowered their friend through a roof down to where Jesus was teaching in order for him to be healed of his paralysis (Luke 5). They arrive at this house, carrying their friend on a mat, only to find a crowd too large to get through. They could’ve easily walked away and said “We’ll try again later” or “There’s no way to get to Jesus here.” But nope, they pressed right on through that tension and fought for the miracle they knew Jesus would do. They looked for another means, no matter how complicated or ridiculous, to get their friend in the presence of the One who could make him whole. How about that?!?!
We could go on forever like this, but I think you get the idea. It’s not uncommon, just before the Lord does something huge, to feel the pull of our flesh to try and seize back control. It’s never easy to let someone else drive the train when something important is at stake; but the amazing thing is that we don’t just have someone in our corner rooting for us. We have the mountain-moving, death-defying, obstacle-crushing Creator of the universe working on our behalf. So while the “Pre-Miracle Tension” we encounter can get uncomfortable, we can rest in the fact that He will never let our faithfulness be wasted. He will always, always, always come through in His own perfect timing and in His own perfect way.
But what about those days, weeks, and months following a big move of God in our lives? Oftentimes the miracle is not the end, but rather just the beginning of a new season. And sometimes that season can be marked by trying moments where the enemy is attempting to derail our victory. That’s what we’ll be unpacking in the fourth and final post in this series. ’Til then, share with us some of your “Pre-Miracle Tension” moments? How did you power through?