Miracles from Heaven is based on the true story of a Texas family whose daughter had a life-threatening stomach disease/disorder. Then after months and months (or longer) of pain, suffering, and fruitless treatments, Anna fell 30 feet down the inside of a rotten, hollowed out tree, and miraculously, she emerged with no broken bones, no injuries (save a few scratches)…and furthermore, was fully healed. I dare say it’s a story anyone can relate to, as this mother fights to find answers for what ails her daughter and as they struggle to pay the medical bills, and deal with people whose “help” is insulting and accusatory, as they wrestle with their faith, trying to make sense of their struggles. This movie is full of thought provoking scenes. It’s almost impossible to come away from this one and not have some meaningful conversation about a bunch of hard topics.
Why? This is one of the questions you almost have to ask. Why do people get sick and suffer? Why do some get healed and others don’t? Why this person and not that person? The movie doesn’t try to answer the unanswerable, but it also doesn’t shrink from admitting the hard questions. Anna asks her mom why God hasn’t healed her yet. Some fellow church members ask Christy if the problem is sin in their lives, hers, her husbands, or even Anna’s. (Just because we mean well doesn’t mean we do well.) (Job had some similar “friends” in the Bible.)
Anyone who has ever had been through knowing something was wrong, but the doctors not finding anything and therefore concluding everything is “fine” will identify with Christy’s situation. She knew something was seriously wrong with her daughter, but the doctor’s weren’t seeing anything. This is a hard place to be. When do you trust the experts and when do you trust your instinct and fight to be heard? Spiritually you can have the same struggle—how do you know if God wants to heal you or if He chooses not to? When do you choose to accept your circumstances with joy and make the best of things, verses fight and press in for a different outcome? Christy kept fighting for a medical answer, but she was struggling to have much faith for a spiritual answer. She got a medical answer, but it didn’t offer much hope. She also got a spiritual answer, God healed her daughter miraculously, even though she hadn’t had the faith to hope for it. God is so gracious.
While Anna was sick, she had opportunity to share Jesus with her roommate. Her little friend, Haley, died, but her father shared that, even though he lost her, he saw a beautiful change in his daughter. She was peaceful and not afraid to die. “She felt safe. Loved.” She had faith and peace, and her father saw such a change that he gave his own life to Jesus as well. We think about our ministry and our purpose, but sometimes we forget that our kids have their own ministry, their own sphere of influence and purpose. Whatever they are going through, it’s important to remember to encourage and empower them to share Jesus as they go. Who might God want to reach through your children? What might their ministry be?
Can we really give thanks in all things? As if Anna hadn’t been through enough, she then fell down a tree and was stuck inside for hours and hours. How do you give thanks for more tragedy? But that fall ended up resulting in her healing. For Anna to fall down that tree where she was healed, the tree had to be rotted out on the inside. This means that the very thing that God used to set in motion Anna’s healing actually began years before, even before she got sick. The answer to their prayers was already on its way, already in motion, even before they knew they had a need. Amazing. And that answer to prayer came dressed in tragedy. Many of God’s greatest gifts to us come in packages we would little like to open. It’s had to give thanks in all things. It’s hard to rejoice and be grateful when your daughter who will likely die from her stomach disorder then falls down a tree in what should be a life-threatening or at least debilitating accident. But, it was that very accident that was the messenger bearing God’s answer to their prayers, bringing healing. We never know what beautiful gifts might be hiding in the least desirable boxes.
Do we actually recognize miracles when they come? The Beam’s had a big miracle happen, but until that big miracle happened and Anna was healed, they hadn’t had eyes to see a lot of the other “smaller” miracles happening along the way. Now, they see how many little graces and kindnesses—little miracles—were given to them every step of the way. They had people helping them when they needed it, met strangers along the way who brightened their lives, financial provision and appointments with doctors when there were no openings… All along the way, God was showing them His love by providing for them, they just hadn’t had the eyes to recognize it at the time. Now, however, their perspective has changed, and they are more attuned to see the marks and the miracles of God’s love all around them. So often, we find what we are looking for.