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Day 25 of 28: When the Miracle Hurts

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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When the Miracle Hurts

After Simeon lifts baby Jesus to bless him, the text says Mary and Joseph are stunned by the interaction. I imagine the moment was a bit surreal. You carry this revelation from God for nine months, half-rejoicing and half-wondering if you are a bit crazy, and someone finally sees and recognizes what you’ve known the whole time: This baby is the Christ.

It had to be jarring for them but great confirmation of what God was doing and had already done.

Simeon turns to Mary and says to her, “A painful sword will one day pierce your inner being, for your child will be rejected by many in Israel. And the destiny of your child is this: he will be laid down as a miracle sign for the downfall and resurrection of many in Israel. Many will oppose this sign, but it will expose to all the innermost thoughts of their hearts before God.”

This had to be a lot of swallow at one time.

Put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a second: you’ve just given birth to a baby. You’ve been in isolation with that baby for the last 40 days. This is your first outing. 

You’ve heard the baby will be great, that he is someone many have been waiting for– all via an angel. And then this man, who knows EXACTLY who your baby is, interjects the moment of blessing the baby to tell you: you will feel the pain of this. Your baby will lose his life when he grows older, serving as a miracle sign to many.

I would have wanted to put up my hands in protest or say, “Can you hold off a bit? He’s just a baby.” But Mary– being typical, mature Mary– heard what Simeon was saying and pondered it in her heart.

In the last few years, I’ve learned that moments of great joy are often mixed with moments of great sorrow and struggle. I don’t think we ever coast to a place where only joy exists, where nothing terrible ever happens.

I’m not calling anyone to live waiting for the “other shoe to drop,” but this interaction reminds me that I cannot discount the good in my life when the bad feels pervasive.

Mary was told her inner being would be pierced with a sword. Her heart would be broken. Something horrible would happen, but the outcome of it would be great news for all people. Don’t you think she wanted to ignore that prophecy? Don’t you think she wanted to skip that part of the story?

Joy and struggle can exist within the same story.

I’d even say the struggle makes the joy that much sweeter.

When I first wrote these words, I was entering the sixth month of pregnancy, and I’ll be straight with you: it had not gone how I thought it would. I expected the sickness to taper off in the first trimester. Still, it stayed like a constant shadow throughout the entire pregnancy and forced me into moments where all I was able to do was surrender.

 The struggle was real, but I noticed something from it. There were these divine pockets of time, brief but loud, where joy broke through the door, and I felt it. It was more profound than I’d thought in the past. It felt rooted in my spirit, like a deep well.

I want to say it was not my joy but a supernatural joy God had planted in my spirit to experience within the struggle. 

Would I maybe change some things or alter the story? Sure, at first glance, yes. But I know the story will never be perfect. And I know the struggle is always going to be a reality.

It’s not that joy and struggle can’t exist within the story– they do already. They are both authentic, and one sometimes sweetens the other.

Struggle and joy. 

Joy and struggle. 

The greatest miracle the world has ever known contained both.

Reading

Luke 2:33-35

Steal This Prayer

Dear God, I know the story will contain joy and struggle. Sometimes I wish I could rip the two apart, but I see your plans in both of them. Would you please help me to lean into the story– even when it hurts? I want to see your miracles while I am dancing on this earth.



I Love Hearing from You!

In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.

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