We’re about to start our 27th year of ministry at FM 104.5. Amazing isn’t it? Perhaps miracle is a more appropriate word. I don’t talk about miracles much. It’s not that I don’t believe in them; I do, without measure, believe in them. I’ve been around so many miracles it would be criminal for me to think differently. Actually, I think God didn’t create them for us to be surprised when they occur, but to live in such a way that miracles are a part of our Christian Life, and we would experience them all the time. However, I don’t say much about them because I’ve never really had proven to me, either by life or person, any way to manipulate or control them. I believe we see many more miracles than we recognize. I remember someone asking me a few years ago why we don’t see many miracles today. My response was that if we were asked to write (with a gift of total recall) our life stories, we’d discover many more than we imagine. If I may, let me walk around a bit in the WBVN experience to kick up a few miracles hidden in the brush, flush them into plain sight.
I don’t think I’ll start at the beginning. I’ve talked about that a lot and it would take pages and pages to step though the process of how an introverted me, with a non-wealthy family, without radio skills or knowledge, with no aspirations to take on a fairly large financial debt, a father of three and husband without a clue how this was all going to work out began this venture. How that family could accumulate volunteers, friends and family to help create something they and even the volunteers knew nothing about; how, despite lacking persuasive powers to create a huge emotional response, kicked off this station with a huge $345 in contributions its first month. Nope, not going to start there. Not going to mention how time after time people came into our studios and provided just the right skills, skills we could never have acquired on our own. Just tell me how a ministry that’s given a 90 day deadline to leave their original studio building can then end up across the street from the source of one of that ministry’s great joys: concerts at the Marion Cultural & Civic Center. And, what about the people that announce music here. Mothers that take time to interrupt their normal day to come and announce song titles and artists. The guys here all work other full time jobs, only to come in to help with a couple hours of DJ talk for us each week. Tell me how a small community gets a call from someone named Mark Schultz while he’s on a flight to Alaska to ask us to host a DVD recording that ends up winning the Dove Award for best video that year, how does that happen? Explain to me why Big Daddy Weave asked us to host their DVD filming. Tell me how listeners fund a ministry when that ministry simply makes its needs known, a ministry that has not traded any promises with those people except to share the Gospel with them and be efficient with the gifts they give. Nope, no way I’m going to go back and tell you about 3 or 4 artists that have given back financially to WBVN after they were in concert here. I’ll wait for a later time to bring up the miracle of even getting an FCC commercial radio license, and that license putting us (a non-com Grace station) in the middle of the commercial radio dial, surrounded by all the secular stations. I’ll not mention the 180 concerts produced over the years, many by artists over and over, not only because of the financial contracts but because of the personal contact they experience with ‘BVNers. I refuse to say anything about what personal relationships have been established between this ministry and its listeners. I’ll not mention how some 20-25 men and women have volunteered to work our concerts so consistently that (some friends and family) they’ve grown too old to lift the boxes anymore but still show up to do whatever they can. I don’t want to bring up the two times that we needed special financial help and our listeners rescued us by giving for those needs specifically, almost to the dollar what it took to replace a transmitter and repairing our studio roof. In fact, I don’t have to bring up that, for some reason, during our Celebrations we get 100 calls of support and yet 600 people actually send in contributions each year. That’s a few of the miracles that I’m not going to even start to bring up, miracles that we’ve seen over the years; and there are others. Thousands of miracles we’ve heard about or seen from our listeners. I could list pages of miracles, some easy to recognize and some that just blend into the tapestry of our everyday lives.
That brings me back to the point of this letter: miracles are real, and even more importantly for this particular letter, they’re natural! We’ve been persuaded to call miracles ‘super-natural’. And they are super, but in the Kingdom of God, in the presence of His Son, miracles are as natural a thing as they can be. Again, I’m emphasizing that miracles can be expected as a natural result of being in relationship with the Creator of the universe. We may not know how they look, not know how they come, be unaware of how they work, not aware of what their role will be in the big picture, but miracles are simply the result of believers entering into ‘His Kingdom Come, His Will Be Done.’
We should have learned miracles are not foreign to this world; they occur all around us. Your breath is a miracle. Your eye. Your relationship with your mother in law, well in some cases anyway. I think one of the things that rob us of ‘seeing’ miracles is that we’ve limited our miracles to a certain few. If we don’t see the ones we’ve chosen to root for, we over look those occurring in our simple daily lives. Miracles are like seed: given the correct environment they sprout, they come to life. Where He is, is the kind of environment miracles occur and He’s present everywhere. I don’t like to think of miracles as being earned by us, but more closely associated with us simply being in the place that a Giving God can give. For years I’ve described the Gospel as being like an electrical breaker box. You might have forty breakers in that box but if the ‘main breaker’ is turned off, all the other breakers won’t work even though they’re directly wired to their purpose. That 200 Amp main breaker in the Gospel is the Love of God. All things pass through that breaker. 1 John 4:18 assures us that perfect love casts out all fear. That environment of Love removes fear, the absence of fear ushers in, turns on the breaker, for miracles. Of Faith, Hope and Love, Love is the greatest. (1Cor. 13:13)
Let me end the letter with a personal note. Even though I work in radio, I’m not gifted with communication skills, have no educational bent for radio, introverted for sure, I’m uncomplicated with my Faith, un-trained in so many of the things I do every day. Yet somehow, someway, God has led Jane and me to a place of experiencing the Joy of caring for thousands of people each day. I think that’s because we learned years ago how to depend on Him so much. What we have to say about the Gospel is what we’ve been saying for 40 years. The Love of God thing, the Grace of God, has always been the rudder of our thoughts. I’ve been through some things I never expected to go through, had some heartache and disappointment. I’ve missed the mark on some things and could have done some things much better than I did. But, Jane and I have lived a miracle. We’ve each had the pleasure of noticing those miracles. Life hasn’t always been ‘rosy’. But God’s fingerprints on our lives have left us amazed at how much of a role He can play in its wanderings. To me, the Kingdom of God is like a sunset. I’ve seen so many evenings where the beauty takes my breath away. Many times while I’m standing admiring those skies and while in the company of someone, my friends don’t notice those colors at all. Seeing the miracles camouflaged in our lives is in itself a miracle of God, a gift from Him for us just to take the moment and take the time to see them.