cartoon: waiting for a miracle

My fellow Canadian Bruce Cockburn sings the beautiful song “Waiting for a Miracle“. One verse goes like this:

Struggle for a dollar, scuffle for a dime
Step out from the past and try to hold the line
So how come history takes such a long, long time
When you’re waiting for a miracle?

And one of my readers reminded me of another fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen’s song “Waiting for the Miracle” that expresses the same sentiment:

Nothing left to do
when you know that you’ve been taken.
Nothing left to do
when you’re begging for a crumb
Nothing left to do
when you’ve got to go on waiting
waiting for the miracle to come.

In the 2007 version of the movie “3:10 to Yuma“, Dan Evans musters the courage to go after the outlaw Ben Wade. His wife doesn’t want him to engage in such a dangerous pursuit. Dan says:

I’ve been standin on one leg for three damn years waitin for God to do me a favor… and He ain’t listenin.

I love that line and understand it.

More now.

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16 Responses

  1. Wendy says:

    I’ve seen people not help themselves, waiting for God to give them a miracle. And that’s tragic. Maybe part of God’s deal is to be able to watch and know we can handle some things ourselves. As a parent, I’m very proud when my kids show me they can handle more responsibility. Couldn’t that also be said for God? It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to know what’s going on and don’t want to help when I can because I love being in their lives in whatever capacity they want me there.

  2. Lynn says:

    Another harm religion does to people. That’s why they had to come up with that saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” It’s to get God off the hook yet again. There’s so much explaining that must be done to temper what some Bible verse plainly says.

    Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure is a priest talking with an older priest and saying you can freeze to death while praying for God to send you some heat.

    But what do churches tell people to do when they have problems? They tell them to pray.

  3. Lynn says:

    “and he ain’t listening.” See, that’s an unusual conclusion for people to come to. They will give you 20 other conclusions, but never, “Well, obviously he’s not listening.” At least in the church.

  4. james says:

    the transendant God is dead, long live god.

    i agree wendy – growing up is painful and most of us don’t do it very well – but it is time to let go of our daddy and become at-one with god

  5. kls says:

    ucbones icanarmy

  6. Erika says:

    Are you familiar with this Leanard Cohen “Waiting for the Miracle” tune? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc_dgbCHs58

    I always look forward to your straight ‘to the bone’ cartoons!

  7. ttm says:

    Maybe the miracle is that the “skeleton” still prays…

  8. nakedpastor says:

    ah yes… another fellow-Canadian!

  9. Sunil says:

    I’m ok(ish) with God not answering prayer. I don’t understand why he does answer it sometimes. It seems to privilege some over others.

  10. Steve Martin says:

    THE single greatest miracle I have ever witnessed, is that He has made a believer out of me.

    .

  11. Doug Sloan says:

    We love miracles – at least the idea of miracles. Each of us wants to be touched or rescued by God in a way that is touch tangible, directly personal, and inexplicably wonderful. We know that not everyone gets to experience a miracle. We know good and faithful people who are deserving, people who would benefit so much from a miracle. We know good and faithful people who suffer so much and never receive a miracle. Miracles seem so rare and fickle. Rarity and randomness seem to be part of what constitutes a miracle.

    When we study the scripture and we find an act of divine intervention, a miracle – it is of secondary concern, almost a red herring. The purpose and focus of the narrative is not the miracle. The lesson of the narrative either surrounds the miracle or is much deeper than the miracle. The miracle either draws us to the lesson or is a gateway to the lesson. The miracle always serves the lesson. The lesson is neither subservient nor inferior to the miracle.

    Miracles are prohibitively expensive. The cost of living in a universe that includes miracles requires a God who is capricious. Miracles require a Zeus or a Jupiter. Miracles require a God who is – unpredictably – either angry and onerous or calm and benevolent. It requires a God who is petty and arrogant and who has no qualms about interfering in, controlling, or playfully dabbling in the course of human events. This is a pagan god. This is not a theology that expands or promotes human understanding or raises the human condition. It is not a theology that enriches or informs the human experience. With a capricious God, our lives are a constant gamble and the universe is one big craps table.

    This is not the God we worship. We do not worship a capricious God. We worship a God who is consistent – consistently and constantly loving, present, and inviting. A God who is consistent (who is not capricious) does not engage in either miracles of healing or miracles of retribution. God neither intervenes nor condemns, neither rescues nor punishes.

    Have you ever been in the presence of an excellent person? Have you ever been in the presence of someone who has a gift and who excels in the use of that gift? A trained gifted singer can raise the performance level of an entire choir. Just one knowledgeable competent person can raise the performance level of an entire office. It is not by their sole efforts. It is by the singular influence of excellence on others, in the way that the presence of excellence inspires and enables others to excel in their respective gifts.

    That is how God works. God is a presence – an influential guiding presence of excellence. God is not intrusive or manipulative, demanding or passive/aggressive. God is an influential guiding presence of excellence only to the extent that we make ourselves aware of it and learn to be sensitive to it. God can imbue our being – our thoughts, emotions, choices, actions, our very life essence – only through our invitation and practice.

    In that context, in the presence and influence and guidance of an excellent God, there can be a miracle – the resurrection and transformation of the human spirit to a life of Good News, to being the Kingdom of God. Such a resurrection of spirit and radical transformation of character deserves the respect and wonder and contemplation that has always been reserved for the miraculous.

  12. Ben Sternke says:

    Reminds me of a little throwaway line in a Bright Eyes song…

    I’d rather be working for a paycheck
    than waiting to win the lottery.”

  13. nakedpastor says:

    oh ya. good line ben.

  14. Wayne says:

    I’m sure this cartoon resonates with most of us, but in different ways. My sister waits and believes for the miracle of being healed of cancer. My friend waits for the miracle of winning the lottery. For years, I waited and prayed for the miracle of becoming straight. To be gay just wasn’t good enough. For me, the miracle did arrive, gradually, as I learnt of the God who loves – and even likes – me just as I am. This wasn’t the miracle I was waiting for – and as long as I let the values of others dictate what my miracle should be, the more I became a skeleton on my knees. There is a miracle for each of us: it’s the miracle of knowing that you are okay, and trying to change who you are isn’t going to change that. As Richard Rohr put it, “It’s all about becoming who you already are.”

  15. nakedpastor says:

    Thanks Wayne for sharing with us a part of your journey. Rohr’s right.

  16. Sabio Lantz says:

    I loved the quote from the Yuma movie — a movie I actually wrote a post on. You stood on one leg for far more than 3 years! I can see why you are sympathetic. 🙂

    Great drawing.