This excerpt from “Kelly Tough: Living Courageously by Faith” by Erin Kelly with Jill Kelly is printed with the permission of BroadStreet Publishing. For more information, go to erinmkelly.com.
The greater miracle is found in seeking the Deliverer first and deliverance second; in longing for the Healer even more than the healing; pursuing the Miracle Worker before pursuing the miracle – the Giver before the gift. My mother is the kind of person whose choices in this life are based upon whether or not they will bring her closer to Christ Himself, as opposed to what He will do for her. And that is the heart I seek, the heart I’m determined to walk in – whatever it may cost. A heart that loves God well beyond anything He can do for me.
With respect to my father, the greater miracle wasn’t that the chemotherapy and radiation worked and that my father is now cancer free – although certainly this is a miracle, the one we prayed for. But the greater miracle is everything God did in the midst of it all to reveal Himself, draw us closer to His heart, and radiate His glory.
The greater miracle is growing up in a family with a father who was raised to be Kelly Tough – a daddy who taught me to never give up no matter what, to fight through the pain regardless of how bad it hurts, to give it all you’ve got despite any and all cost.
A father who exemplified what it means to always be tough, and yet came to the realization that it’s not about being tough at all, but that our greatest strength is found in and through our greatest weakness.
The greater miracle lies in recognizing that the setbacks in life are actually set-ups for God’s grace and mercy to be displayed and magnified in the most unexpected people and places. People like Uncle Ray, whose prayer, though simple and humble, unexpectedly pierced my heart in a way that forever changed my relationship with God. And places like a stark hospital room where we met Jason, a man who had just weeks to live but was so full of life and love that he seemed more alive than most people who enjoy perfect health.
Ponder the greater miracle of finding joy in the midst of sorrow and suffering, or in recognizing that weakness is a bridge to the strength and power of God that gives us the ability to be more than conquerors and overcomers. And isn’t part of this overcoming and conquering choosing to embrace our responsibility to love and forgive when we think we have the right to do the opposite?
Or the miracle unleashed in truly realizing, like I mentioned above, that our need for the Healer is greater than our need for healing; that the sting of death has been swallowed up in victory because of the One who conquered it to give us life here – and finally fullness of life in eternity; that Christ is and always will be greater and more powerful than cancer. Or it can be found in the greater miracle that although none of us know what tomorrow holds, in this moment we can choose to trust the God who holds tomorrow and all that we don’t know. And what about embracing the truth that we don’t have to have it all together, because God treasures and accepts you and me right where we are. And that our mess of imperfections is the very place where Jesus redeems our brokenness, transforming and perfecting it into something absolutely beautiful.
Unquestionably, the greater and more compelling miracle is God’s end game – His loving us so completely and unconditionally that He gave His One and Only Son so we might be reconciled to Him. God destroyed every power and principality that would try to stand against His love for the crown of His creation – humanity – you and me. And nothing in time or eternity can force us from His loving embrace.