As church leaders, we decided that everybody would receive a Christmas gift. A card with a personal wish from our pastor, a few small bags of sweets, a candle, and a large amaryllis flower bulb. Gift-wrapped with a lot of love and care.
Quite a few homeless persons and illegal asylum seekers are part of our church, and I was to bring them the gifts. While on my way there, I started getting questions and doubts. What were they to do with a candle? What good is a flower bulb to them, for goodness sake? Why did we not decide on something more practical? A pair of gloves or warm socks. In these horrible circumstances – where only a miracle could help them – I drop by to hand them a flower bulb. I was happy that I was to deliver the packages to the reception desk of the center, without further explanation.
Recently, a young asylum seeker who had no status and finished the legal procedure, attended church again, after a long absence. Happily I walked up to her and asked how she was doing. She replied, ‘Bad, but yesterday I experienced a miracle, and ever since then things are much better.’ I was curious and asked her to tell me more.
She said, ‘Remember that Christmas gift I got? There was also a flower bulb in it, but I had no space or pot for that bulb. So I had put it in a plastic bag under my bed. This past time I was so desperate and tired of living. I thought: I am a person who got tossed out, I did not want to live anymore. But then yesterday when I was looking for a pair of warm socks in the bags under my bed, to my surprise I found something beautiful. Sara, out of that bulb, in the bag under my bed, a beautiful green stalk had grown. It was as if God was telling me, you are just like this bulb, put away and forgotten. But there is life in you and I am letting you grow. It was a miracle!’
I felt humility flow through all my veins. I learned my lesson: a miracle never is practical. It is a miracle when God reveals to us His power and truth in an impossible situation. Even a flower bulb can be used to good effect for that.
Sara van der Toorn (1976) is a trainer and speaker and regularly writes a blog in Visie, the magazine of EO broadcasting corporation. This blog is used with permission.