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19 July 2005

Fruits of the Spirit—Hyperbole

Back in June, my wife and I spent the majority of the month in Europe. We stayed the first week and a half in Hungary at a conference for Christians who live in Europe. I work for the organisation that put together said conference. To help with the conference, we brought along a team of 20 volunteers, one of whom was my wife.

While we were at O’Hare in Chicago preparing to fly overseas, one of our team members discovered that he had lost his passport. This occurred somewhere between the security checkpoint and our gate.

Naturally this was a problem. You can’t leave the country without a passport. And if you somehow manage to do so, you won't make it far once you've landed.

After this rather sticky problem manifested itself, we retraced the volunteer’s steps, notified the airline, and all the other sorts of things one does in this kind of situation. We also prayed, as one of our more obnoxious volunteers took this time to loudly approach the throne with boldness.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course (beyond Jesus’ injunction not to pray in public). That our volunteer would think to pray first and ask questions later is kind of humbling. That she would strongarm everyone else into doing the same is another matter.

After this initial prayer meeting, several of the volunteers went to look for the missing passport. Several minutes passed with nothing to report. Some began to worry. Arrangements were made for our passportless volunteer to find a way home from the airport. Finally, in desperation, our prayerful volunteer cried unto the Lord once more, asking that the passport be restored to its rightful owner, so as to strengthen his faith.

And then a curious thing happened. Not five minutes later, an announcement was made over the airport loudspeakers. And so the passport was found, having found its way into the wrong traveller’s pocket. This traveller noticed the passport when boarding his own flight and turned it in. Simple as that.

But not quite. Having had her prayer answered so quickly, our volunteer extolled the miracle that had occurred on her watch. No, I’m not kidding. A miracle.

This is why I have a hard time liking certain Christians. And why I don’t fit in with them. A man being raised from the dead after three days is a miracle. Water being turned into wine is a miracle. Healing the sick with your bare hands is a miracle. Someone noticing that he had the wrong passport and speaking up about it is not a miracle. It’s fucking common sense.

Comments on "Fruits of the Spirit—Hyperbole"


Blogger Daedalus said ... (7/20/2005 10:30:00 PM) : 

Are you saying that my "losing" my atm card twice in one week and then finding it again at the bars I left them in ISN'T a miracle? Oh my god, my whole world is shattered!


Blogger MEP said ... (7/21/2005 03:01:00 PM) : 

Gotta love the people who pray for attention from other people. And then gloat about their ability to garner a miracle from God.


Blogger jvpastor said ... (7/21/2005 08:03:00 PM) : 

Doesn't Michael W. Smith have a song about "providence" that goes along well with this story? I think that it would be better if in the story you said that song started playing over the airline sound system just faintly in the background, but not so subtle as not to be noticed by those with "ears to hear." :)


Blogger Nicole said ... (7/23/2005 01:01:00 AM) : 

What I liked about the whole trip was the fact that all the prayers focused on, "Dear God, please don't let anything to go wrong (read: differently than I had planned).

It just made my skin crawl. Am I wrong to think we should pray that God will shake up our little false worlds? Then teach us how to deal with it and be a little closer to Him? But, then again, it must be I'm wrong because I didn't vote for G.W., and they all did, I'm sure.


Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (7/25/2005 11:57:00 AM) : 

"Someone noticing that he had the wrong passport and speaking up about it is not a miracle. It’s fucking common sense."

Great story. Thanks for telling it.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for seeing small miracles everywhere. It's just that I prefer my miracles to be more along the lines of a kindness shown by a homeless fella, or to a homeless fella, than - as one of your commenters suggested - when God keeps us on schedule...


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