This past fall I joined a Bible Study Fellowship group here in Baltimore. Together, we’ve been studying the book of John. So far, we’ve read about John the Baptist’s faithful ministry, Jesus calling of the first disciples, Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine, the woman at the well, the healing of the official’s son, the healing at the pool on the Sabbath, the feeding of five thousand, Jesus walking on water, the woman caught in adultery, the healing of the blind man, and Jesus the good shepherd.
While reading the gospels, I’ve always been struck by the sheer number of miracles Jesus performs and how many of the onlookers seem surprised by Jesus’ ability to perform them and still question His Lordship. I can relate, I often overlook the miracles Jesus continues to perform in hearts today. But like John, I want to tell the stories of Jesus at work in the lives of his people. It’s these stories that help us see that the living Christ is risen and reigning in the world today.
My Fig Tree Friend
I met my Fig Tree Friend when one of my boys sat next to her boy on the bus. They became fast friends and we began to spend time together. I quickly learned that their family had recently lost their four-year-old daughter to Bacterial Meningitis. When we met, they were devastated, grieving, and angry with God. Over the next year, they began to regularly attend our home Bible studies. One day I asked the mom to read through the Gospel of John with me. When we got to , Nathanael says to Jesus “How do you know me?” and Jesus replies “when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
That day I asked my friend if she knew that God saw her in her pain over the past year and during the death of her daughter. I told her our family prayed God would give us people to love and serve and in God’s kindness, he had seen her family and sent us to love and serve her. I told her that I felt this was a “Fig Tree Moment” in her life and called her to follow Christ. A few weeks later, I asked her what she was waiting on and whether or not she was ready to proclaim Jesus as Lord. To my delight, she said “Nothing! I’m ready. What do I need to do?”
My friend’s conversion to faith is nothing short of miraculous. God is still opening blind eyes and reconciling people to Himself today.
Another Fig Tree Friend
When one of the women in our church (a certified American Sign Language Interpreter) moved to Baltimore, she asked the Lord to connect her with the deaf community here. Did you know the deaf community is one of the least reached people groups in the U.S.?! One of the first weeks in her new home she discovered a deaf couple living just a few doors down. The couple accepted her invitation to come to our home group Bible study and our friend has been able to interpret Kyle’s teaching.
While my sign language is limited to the alphabet I learned in sixth grade and the baby signs I picked up for my children, it has been a joy to connect despite the language barrier. The woman, who was very pregnant when she began attending, was very quick to ask me pregnancy related questions and even asked me to be with her for labor and delivery!
One very cold December day, Kyle and I were preparing for our big outreach Christmas caroling event. After all the preparation and anticipation, an ice storm hit. We would have to cancel. We were so disappointed. But in God’s perfect sovereignty, about an hour before the event would have begun, I received the call that my pregnant friend was en route to the hospital via ambulance and I would need to hurry to meet her. Thankfully, my schedule had been freed, I made it in time, and two hours later I was able to watch her sweet baby take her first breath and I got to cut the cord!
I am praying that through friendship, small acts of love, and opportunities to serve, God will miraculously open the spiritual ears of this little family. I also look forward to the opportunity to actually speak the Gospel story into this sweet (hearing!) baby’s life!
God is doing amazing things here, friends. And because Kyle and I said “Yes!” to following God’s call to Baltimore, we are getting to witness them firsthand. Sharing the gospel stories with these friends has been one of the greatest delights of my life. The act of willingly entering in has granted us the opportunity to witness modern day miracles all around us.
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1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (ESV)