We think of miracles as huge and dramatic, like the parting of the Red Sea, or Jesus turning water into wine. But, in fact, most miracles are quiet, even solitary. God is keenly aware of each one of us, and grants miracles all the time—the question is, do we notice?
Like answers to prayers, we are most likely to see results when our desires align with God’s. When we are praying for help getting to the temple, or for missionary opportunities, or for greater faith—we are not praying for mortal “stuff.” We are praying for the things of eternity, and God is very much invested in helping us with those matters. Sometimes He arranges events that simply cannot be brushed off as mere coincidence. When we do His work, He opens doors.
I live where there’s a huge population of Ukrainians, many of whom are Christian, and have fled Communism for the freedoms of the U.S. It so happens that we hired a man from this region to do some work on our house. I felt prompted to talk with this father of six about our faith and learned that he believes prophets live on the earth today. Wow—that’s a wonderful beginning.
I wanted to give him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and asked if he could read in English. He could, but only with great effort. Russian or Ukrainian was much easier for him. He was coming back in a few days, and I prayed about this.
That afternoon our ward missionaries wanted to call us and share a spiritual message. At the end of the call, my husband asked one of them to offer a closing prayer. The elder began, and then stopped. “Oh, sorry,” he said. “I started to pray in another language.” Then he started over, in English.
After the prayer I felt a strong prompting to ask him what language he had begun to pray in. There are more than 7,000 languages in this world. His past, his travels, his education were not known to me, so it could have been anything. But when he said, “Russian,” my eyes filled with tears. Of course it was Russian. Could he get me a copy of a Russian Book of Mormon? Yes. Was Heavenly Father granting me a miracle? Yes, no question.
This dedicated elder had learned Russian from a previous companion. Perhaps he had been prompted, too. Perhaps he wondered why on earth he needed to learn that language. But now it was clear: The Lord needed a Russian copy of the Book of Mormon for the man I’d met. I could only pray my thanks for such a humbling moment of trust, and for being in the right place at the right time.
When we pledge our heart to the Lord, even despite all our weaknesses, He uses us to accomplish great things. Not one of His prophets has been perfect. In fact, this truth is emphasized throughout all scripture—every time we read of a great leader we are shown problems and mistakes he made. Even today we are reminded that our leaders are not infallible; they’re human beings.
Becoming a prophet or an apostle does not mean his agency is taken away and he will now proceed in perfection. We need to remember that all of our leaders are human beings with frailties of their own. We demonstrate faith in our Heavenly Father when we honor and obey them anyway. But what a miracle this is, that these imperfect individuals still manage to guide us as God directs.
And this reminds me that every single day, every single one of us is witness to another miracle. It’s how our church functions. Look at us. Unlike most churches, we do not pay our ministers, teachers, singers, or staff. Each congregation is literally run by amateurs. In fact, the minute you think you have your calling down and know what you’re doing, you get a different calling. Someone far less experienced takes over, and you step into the shoes of someone who also thought they had things figured out.
It’s kind of hilarious, really. We’re kept humble, no question. And we’re given dozens of positions that make us uncomfortable yet help us grow and learn. This is by design. Yet, despite our lack of professionalism and training, the church rolls forward and succeeds. It grows. It blesses millions worldwide with humanitarian aid. It offers saving, exalting covenants. It builds temples. It seals families for eternity. It’s incredible all that we amateurs can do! And yes, I think that’s an absolute miracle.
Look at families. No perfect parent exists in mortality. Yet kids basically turn out. Our efforts often need a miracle, and God often gives us one. Individuals rise and flourish despite horrendous backgrounds. God steps in to help. He lifts and inspires us, helping us dry our tears about past hurts, and move forward in faith and service. When we involve God in our lives, we really can expect miracles.
Pause and look around you. Study your life and the amazing “coincidences” you’ve seen. This month is the season for giving thanks. Let’s be sure to thank our maker for the many miracles around us.
Hilton’s books, humor blog, and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Inter-Faith Specialist for Church Communications.