I am in the miracle business.
By which I mean to say, the kind that requires prayer and a whole lot of hope. The business of waiting. And that is what miracles are, are they not? The end result of lots and lots of waiting?
The woman who waited for 12 years to stop bleeding. The lame man who waited his whole life to walk. The blind, the sick, the dead… all in the miracle business, the business of waiting.
And while I wait, with so many unknowns, doubt can viciously overtake any confidence faith has offered, any trust I’ve mustered.
What if I’m making a mess of it all?
This week a young girl ended her life. The details are fuzzy, but this I know: we were there. My team was in the community. We were in her community. We were in her school. Were we in her class? Stirring up things maybe we shouldn’t have stirred up? Talking about tough stuff – the stuff that bridges gaps between the kids who have seen too much and the kids whose naïve ears are pierced for the first time. Talking about exploitation and unhealthy relationships and the hidden reality of victims of trafficking. What did she hear?
Are we making a mess?
I hear the 4 friends who literally peeled off the roof to jerry-rig their paralytic friend to come face to face with Jesus. So desperate in hope, so tired of waiting. Are we being careless? Have we thought this through? If he falls, will he be hurt even worse?
And perhaps they asked the question all of us in the miracle business ask: is our waiting almost over?
A few weeks ago, I flew to D.C. to pray. Skeptical and mildly wary, I joined 2000+ at International Justice Mission’s Global Prayer Gathering (IJM GPG). I thought, I’m tired of prayer. I thought, this is going to be a lot of talking and singing cloaked in prayer. I thought, I’m going to be stuck with strangers who say “Lord, just” every 5 words. I was so wrong.
Here’s the thing I’m realizing, fellow miracle-waiters: Prayer is the first cousin of miracle.
IJM is fighting some of the most grievous injustices in the world: police brutality, cybersex trafficking, debt bondage, slavery. And every day starts with personal prayer. Every morning at 11:00 every staff member stops what they’re doing to gather and pray specifically and boldly. Every year they invite us to join them in bold, specific prayers. But we did not just petition, we praised.
We praised the God who answered the bold, specific prayers of the previous year. The prayers which materialized from months and years of waiting. Lord, break through! Lord answer! And there I saw: From the waiting comes prayer and from the prayer comes miracle.
Had I been in the miracle business? Or had I been in the push harder and work better business?
If we fear making a mess of it all, perhaps we’re not praying bold, specific prayers? When we doubt and lose hope, maybe we should be on our knees.
I am waiting for an end to sex trafficking. I am waiting for the day when evil loses its grip on our youth. I am waiting for hope to reign in the hallways of our high schools. And so I will pray. I will allow prayer to make room for the miracle. It is after all, the business I’m in.
Beth Bruno is founder and director of A Face to Reframe, a non-profit committed to preventing human trafficking through arts, training, and community building. She writes about women in ministry, girls becoming women, and exploited women. Her writing has appeared at Relevant, Today’s Christian Woman, InterVarsity’s The Well, and she is a proud member of Redbud Writer’s Guild. She can be found in the mountains of Colorado with her husband and 3 kids or at www.bethbruno.org.