Not a story of miracles

Not a story of miracles May 7, 2013

By now you’ve heard the news that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight have been found alive, apparently kidnapped and held for years as prisoners inside a house on Cleveland’s West Side.


Understandably the reaction from the public-at-large has been one of rejoicing. These women were believed to be dead. Abducted. Likely murdered. Shouts of praise were offered up as word of the women captives set free went viral:


My God is MIGHTY DO U HEAR ME MIGHTY IM IN TEARS ! Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus are alive! God hears OUR prayers people..he hears our prayers! We can change the world through PRAYER!


Holy Cow! Didn’t think it could be possible. Congrats to Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus families for never giving up on their missing daughters. Your prayers have come true. Your babies are coming home…alive! Proof that miracles do exist. God Bless them!




Three young girls abducted and held captive for a decade or more before one of them fights her way to freedom, and thereby earns it for all is proof that miracles exist?


This story is a lot of things, but what it is not is proof of miracles. Nor is it, as many have suggested, proof that God is good. 


God is good.


But God’s goodness is not revealed in a story where three women are abducted and held captive in their very own community right here in AMERICA: LAND OF THE FREE.


This isn’t a story about the character of God at all. 


It’s a story about our character. 

It’s a story that provides proof positive to anyone with eyes to see that EVIL exists.


It is right ‘cher, in our very own neighborhoods, behind the closed doors and apparently boarded-up, blacked-out windows.


This story is about us.


It is about how we fail to see what is right in front of us, day in and day out.


It is a story about deceit.


It is a story about abetting.


It is a story about how little we really know each other.


It is likely a story about failures by law enforcement.


It is a story about social class divides.


It is a story about money.


It is a story about marginalization.


It is a story about broken families.


It is a story about broken hearts.


It is a story about imprisonment.


It is likely a story of rape and sex abuse.


It is a story about the justification of evil.


It is a story about assumptions.


It is a story about perversions.


It is a story of abandonment.


It is a story of extreme loneliness.


It is a story of isolation.

It is a story about individualism.

It is a story about the subjugation of others.

It is a story of delusions.

It is a story of manipulation.

It is a story of fear.

It is a story of physical and emotional abuse.

It is a story of despair.

It is a story of wickedness.

It is a story of meanness.

And in the face of all that it is a story of one man who did the right thing. It is the story of what happens when just one person responds to a cry for help. It is the story of how lives are changed when one person chooses to do that right thing.

But it is not a story of miracles.  And it is not a story about the goodness of God. 

Don’t you know the entire time those young girls were held captive Jesus was on his knees praying to the heavens that one of us would do something to rescue them?

What we can all be thankful about is that a neighbor – Charles Ramsey –  finally heard the cry for help and did the right thing.


Thank God Charles Ramsey is the kind of neighbor who cared enough to help.


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  • In the south , we know our neighbors ! We watch them carry on their day to day lives from our windows . If we have an elderly neighbor we check on them periodically to make sure they are okay . We KNOW who our neighbors are and what’s going on in our neighborhoods! Some may call it being nosey… We call it being a human being !! God is good Karen , no doubt, but even He told us to love our neighbors !! Come on people ……open your eyes !! Know what’s going on in your neighborhoods !! Be nosey !!!!

    • Amen! We have to be God’s eyes, ears, hands and feet here on earth.

  • If you listen to the actual 911 call – Charles is dropping the F-bomb about every other word while talking to the dispatcher. He’s definitely a real, down-to-earth type of hero. Lynette is right about the south, though. Especially in small towns!

  • So So So So true…what you said!!! Thank you for sharing. We will never understand why “bad things happen to good people” but my God grieves when these bad things happen. And I am thankful for the neighbor – Charles Ramsey – who heard the cry for help and did the right thing!

  • Ray Hooker

    This is very good. We had friends whose daughter was in Colombine during the shootings. They suffered but even worse were the platitudes about how God was good to her daughter and preserved her. There is some truth, but the parents were never encouraged to mourn but rather to “praise God”. People were so shocked that they wanted easy answers. That family still suffers today from what happened even though their daughter was not harmed.

    • Yes. We are all about the easy answer. We don’t think our own theology through very well: If your friend’s daughter was spared, and that’s the “miracle” then did God abandon the ones who children died? What answer do we give to the parent whose daughters go missing never to return? Did God not hear their prayers? Did God not care? We are to mourn with those who mourn. Not tell them to buck up and get over it, to be thankful. It is wonderful when people are able to walk through the fire and come through it with a praise on their lips but the mourning has to come first. Denying it’s rightful place in our lives only encourages a life of deceit.

  • ambrs57 .

    “Don’t you know the entire time those young girls were held captive Jesus
    was on his knees praying to the heavens that one of us would do
    something to rescue them?” Really? The God of the universe was helplessly waiting for us to do something? Jesus, the sovereign Creator, was unable to do anything? We may not understand why God allowed this suffering to go on for ten years, but the notion that He was impotently waiting for human intervention is a notion that the Bible simply does not permit. Yes, this story is one of horror and great evil. But I am quite certain that if my child had been missing for a decade, presumed dead, and then suddenly reappeared it would be experienced as nothing short of a miracle. It is not necessary to deny God’s sovereignty and denigrate the experience of the families who received their loved ones as ones returned from the dead in order to point out the great evil of this event.

    • While I may FEEL like it’s a miracle to have my child returned to me, doesn’t make it a miracle. And it is not a denigration of God’s sovereignty to suggest that Jesus was praying for somebody to take action. Jesus prayed while he was here on earth — wouldn’t you think he’d pray for us more now that he’s removed physically from us? And throughout the course of the history of God as we know it, God has acted through humanity. Of course God was waiting for human interaction/action — not impotently as you suggest — but because that’s how God has chosen to act.

  • AFRoger

    Discussions of divine prayer always seem to end in human dilemmas and conundrums–because that’s all we know. According to the best theology that two millennia of Christian tradition have produced, I am a human being “conceived and born in sin” and condemned equally by sins of commission and sins of omission. The sovereign God who allows, tolerates, or permits sin and grievous evil would seem to be as equally implicated, then, as I am when called to account for my sins of omission. How can God come away clean while I am on the hook when, after all, the cards were stacked against me before I was ever born? Who was it again that was “conceived and born in sin?” Seems like God could end the whole sin issue rather quickly by simply making no more of us.
    Thus we can drive ourselves in vortices by attempting logical, finite answers to infinite questions in turf that is not ours. In reply to my own musings above, maybe God’s got another plan that makes no sense through our backward view of the lens. I think so. So I like to ask questions I cannot answer, stack ’em up before God. I’m not alone. Rob Bell’s stunning work in the video “Open” is about the best piece on prayer I’ve seen in my 6+ decades of life. Just because we can’t get exhaustive answers, we have no excuse to stop asking better and harder questions–or to stop living.
    Meanwhile, I can fret about what makes national news. Here locally, an equally tragic story leaked a few drops in the AM’s paper. A man 33 was shot to death at 2:32 AM outside a nude bar. Argument over a woman… The deceased had, in his short life, “fathered” five children, according to the paper. Had a bit part in their creation I would say. Fathering them, not so much, I’d bet. Who is fathering them now, and who ever will? While we puzzle over the senselessness of questions surrounding Cleveland, alarm bells are sounding in every community and neighborhood where we live.
    Five children conceived and born in sin. Like me. Children. Like their father once was.
    How many more? there’s a question…