I got to see a miracle on Sunday.
I saw Jesus turn water into wine.
While only metaphorically, it was still awesome! It was aged “wine”, at least 2 years in the making … though looking back probably more.
Chris, my husband, and I both began feeling that the Lord was calling us to ministry after Naomi was born. For me, it began with a calling to blog/speak and encourage women in this digital age. Chris wasn’t sure, but we both felt the very strong calling to ministry.
We were very fortunate to have some good friends who offered to do some life coaching with us. They sat down with us and asked us some pivotal questions. One of which was where our ministry was going to be … not just in a vocational sense, as everyone is called to minister in some way. It began our journey in asking God where and how He wanted us to serve.
We both felt a strong call to vocational ministry. Chris was feeling very dry in his day job, and always had been. He was so to speak, out of wine, as the hosts of the wedding that Jesus attended at the very beginning of His public ministry (see John 2:1-3). Maybe you know the feeling?
We spent a few months really praying and seeking what God wanted from us. The idea of becoming full-time ministers, or even missionaries, was discussed with both hesitation and excitement. We prayed, sought counsel, and prayed some more.
In August Chris began researching schools in order to receive formal education to become a pastor. This was the direction that we both felt God was leading us.
It was scary to think about, but not doing what God wanted and missing out on His best was even scarier!
Chris researched, investigated, and prayed over schools for about a month. He finally enrolled in a program after weighing all the options and talking to the Masters program recruiter. By the end of August, everything was settled and classes were set to begin October 30.
And then the battles came.
The doubts and fears. The questions of ability. Financial means. And so many more.
Twice, Chris emailed the recruiter and withdrew his application. He hemmed and hawed, whether he should start the program later, or even start at all. He questioned if this was the right school. He questioned how we could ever afford this education. And he questioned if he was really hearing what God told him to do. I questioned too.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how the servants reacted to Jesus telling them to fill up the jars with water, other than to tell us that they obeyed. I can imagine it was a pretty intense situation for them though! They were out of wine to serve the guests in the middle of this seven-day feast. The family’s reputation and credit rating was on the line – and possibly the servants own necks!
What we do know is that in spite of whatever the servants were feeling, they were obedient.
At 2 o’clock in the afternoon on October 29, in the middle of Wal-Mart, I received a text message from Chris to call the recruiter to see if he could still start classes the next day.
When I told her, she laughed! She had sensed the battle going on and had been praying for Chris, and was happy to hear of his decision to follow God! It was a beautiful moment. He started his Master’s program the next day.
It hasn’t been an easy journey these last 18 months. This was just the first of many decisions that we had to make to choose to follow God. Often what He asked us to do didn’t make much sense to us – especially in the financial arena. But we chose to continue on and obey.
Faith and obedience often don’t come easily.
And it wasn’t any easier in Jesus’s day. I’m guessing it was quite exhausting, both physically and emotionally, for the servants to fill up those large heavy jars with water.
It was probably even more emotionally taxing to obey Jesus’s command to serve the Host this water turned wine. The Bible doesn’t tell us if the servants got to taste the wine first, or if they had to blindly trust that it would be a good wine. It really was a test of the servants obedience here.
We did get many opportunities to taste God’s goodness during this time period. He blessed us with our son Caleb, physical provisions, financial peace despite our low-income, and in many other ways.
But I’ll be completely honest, I was afraid of what the “wine” would taste like once Chris graduated. I was dealing with my own lack of trust in God, and it was exhausting.
Chris graduated last weekend. And if Masters earned honors (they do not, much to my surprise!) – Chris would have gotten the highest possible honors! He carried a 97% or above average in all of his classes – to God be the glory!! I share this not to boast, but to show God’s faithfulness.
However, my fear still persisted.
Saturday night, God asked me if I believed He could still turn water into wine? Could He still work a miracle in our lives the way He did for this family?
I had never heard my husband speak publicly. I knew he isn’t a huge fan of crowds, and that he really wasn’t thrilled with the idea of preaching. Yet God told him to become a Pastor – and he was obedient.
Last week as he prepared to deliver his first sermon I tried to keep my nervousness to myself. I asked Chris often what I could do to help him. I prayed and I asked others to pray. Yet, I was worried. Not because I didn’t believe Chris was capable, or that God couldn’t work through him – but because I was dry. I had forgotten who God was and what He could do.
Chris worked on his sermon diligently and had me read over it a couple of times to edit it. It was a good sermon, which honestly didn’t surprise me in the least, as Chris was consistently praised by his professors for his writing.
I suggested a few minor tweaks here and there, and waited a bit anxiously for him to practice his delivery. This was really the crux of my worry.
You see, when Chris was younger he was in Special Education for a reading disability. He also had some speech issues he had to overcome. After we had Naomi, we discovered he had a tongue tie just like she did, that was never corrected.
Chris spent some time practicing Saturday while I ran some errands. He didn’t seem to want to practice with an audience. The differences in our personalities and how we’d approach this big moment was quite on display! I took many deep breaths on Saturday, and prayed and asked God to help Chris … and to help me to help, encourage and support Chris. You see, I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times.
After 12 years of marriage, I knew that what Chris didn’t need was my worry and lack of faith. He didn’t need my critique, and teacher-style suggestions. He needed me to trust Jesus, as Chris was, to take care of the sermon.
I was sorting through a box of hand-me-downs for Caleb after the kids were in bed when Chris came up to practice. I could tell he was nervous about my reaction and I prayed and asked God to give me wisdom to encourage my husband and not tear him down in any way. As wives, we ladies have a way of doing this when we don’t mean to.
He began reading his sermon with a precision and clarity that I wasn’t expecting. After a brief reminder that often we read much faster than we realize, he delivered a sermon my heart really needed to hear!
He reminded me that like Mary, we need to come to Jesus asking for Him to work in our lives to solve our problems. Trusting that He, the Creator, was able to deal with our them!
He reminded me that like the servants we need to be obedient to what He tells us to do – even when it’s not easy and doesn’t make any sense.
He reminded me that I needed to have faith that God will show up and deliver the best.
And show up He did!
Chris delivered his sermon Sunday by the power of the Holy Spirit in an awe-inspiring way. He taught the Word, sought to make eye contact and connect with the audience in a profound and professional way. He added revelations and parts of his story as the Holy Spirit directed in a way that lead me to tears as I saw the many miracles that God had worked in this man’s heart these past 2 years!
He was standing in that pulpit, as God has called him to do … water turned to wine!
I write this today not knowing where God is going to take our family from here.
I imagine the Disciples felt much the same as I do today after seeing Jesus perform this miracle. Excitement, mixed with anticipation, knowing that this Jesus I’m following can still turn water into wine!
Photo from Lukáš Jirovský, was modified under CC License 2.0.
Where are you at today? Feeling a bit dry and in need of some water into wine miracles? Jesus is ready and able to work in your life. Seek Him, Trust Him, & Obey – He’ll take care of the rest!
Leave me a comment below and tell me how I can be praying for you in your journey.