In John's gospel there are two stories that haunt me as they remind me of how easy it is to miss what God is doing in our lives and miss His power. The first is the story of the man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years (John 5:1-15) who is healed by Jesus, and the second is the blind man who is given sight (John 9). In both stories a miracle takes place. One man is allowed to walk and the other is healed of his blindness. Both are appropriately amazed at what happened and go to their religious leaders to share their experience. Both are met with criticism and skepticism. In both cases the religious leaders missed the point and missed God.

How often do we miss the point of what God is doing in our lives or in the lives of others because we are wrapped up in the business of church and making sure that we keep the rules? How often do we miss the opportunity to celebrate God because the circumstances do not fit our theology?

Here are a few examples ...

A friend calls to tell us how they were desperate for cash. Bills were overdue, the car needed repairs, and the kids needed clothes for the new school year. They prayed, "God help us." Unexplained and unexpected an envelope arrives in the mail with no return address and no note containing the exact amount of money they needed to cover the bills, plus a little extra. How do we respond? Do we join in their celebration? Do we acknowledge that this could have only come from God? Do we question and investigate how someone could have known what the need was and wonder who could have come through for us in the pinch? Do we silently wonder why things like this never happen to us?

One of our children greets us after school with a smile stretched across their face because they believed what we had prayed with them the night before when we asked God to help them deal with the teacher who seemed to be unfair, or the classmate who never talked to them. On this day, that prayer was answered. They are thrilled to know God really does hear us when we pray. How did we respond? Did we rejoice with them or did we play it down with a, "Oh wow! That's neat." Do we ignore it completely by justifying it our minds that we don't want them to grow up thinking that kind of stuff happens all the time?

During a Bible class someone stands up, unsolicited, saying, "I have a praise to share with the class." For the next few minutes they struggle to contain their emotions as they reveal a struggle they have been experiencing and the victory they have now experienced. They use words like "miracle" and "unbelievable" and "amazed" and they give credit completely to the Lord. Though several show their agreement with an "Amen" or a "Praise God," one wise brother reminds us that we should not get too carried away with this sort of thing and reminds us that miracles have ceased and that God really does not work like that any more.

In each case the person with the story says, "I don't know all the details of what happened. All I know is this ... I got this envelope full of money in the mail ... the relationship with the person at school is better ... I have won the victory over this problem ... I was crippled, now I walk ... I was blind, now I see."

Jesus seems to address this at the end of his encounter with a man he healed who had been born blind. The Lord said to his critics, "For judgment I have come into the world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind" (John 9:39).

This week, let me challenge us not to spoil a celebration with our explanations, with our analysis, or by discrediting it. Let the celebrations flourish. Join in. Give God the glory, much like the people did when Jesus forgave and healed a man who had been paralyzed:

Let's not spoil the celebration!

This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!" (Mark 2:12).

Who knows? Maybe God has something planned for you. I hope you don't miss it.