COVID raged all around us like a wildfire. People still took opposing and heated sides on every issue related to the pandemic. Every headline seemed to usher in another level of bad news and despondency. Another day, another woe. And yet, in this one, single, solitary moment, life was lifted above the gloom vehemently trying to invade our lives. This small, isolated moment of elation was pinned inside the framework of a midweek Prayer Service.
There is a small remnant of folks who gather at our church once a month to pray and desperately seek the heart of God concerning the events in our personal lives, our community, and our world. It is not our last resort, it is our most vital resource and option. After a sweet and powerful moment of intimate worship, I split the group into four separate, smaller groups. Each group went into separate rooms, where we poured out our heartfelt concerns and shared our deepest troubles with one another. One by one, at the end of each expression, we prayed for each other and the requests being made. We shared words of encouragement, smiles, and even a few tears.
But packaged within the renewal and refreshment that this moment was already giving us, was another moment, waiting to give us another unexpected lift out of the weariness of the outside world. A lady began to speak about the miracle she had just recently experienced. As she began to speak of it, I immediately recognized the miracle. I had actually been praying for this miracle for the last several days, along with many in the group.
Weeks earlier, her daughter had gotten struck with COVID, and had been on a ventilator for several long, agonizing days. She was not expected to make it, and doctors had not given her much hope. But in this very moment, she was testifying to the miracle that her daughter, just 48 hours earlier, had been taken off the ventilator, and had come home! As tears streamed down her face, the atmosphere lifted, and it took our hearts with it.
Time seemed to pause, if only briefly. I became incredibly aware of how this moment stood in such stark contrast to everything just on the other side of the doors that led to the outside world. On the other side of those doors, the broken world was pitching a fit of gloom, despair, and agony. But in this small circle, for a brief moment, smiles, tears of joy, sighs of relief. Misery lost its headline, and Hope crept back in. It was five minutes, but it was enough. Strangely, I also sensed that had the result been different, and her daughter had never come home, the Hope that this shared experience was providing us, would have still been enough.
I was reminded of Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” I was amazed at how much louder this one piece of good news seemed to be than all of the bad news surrounding us. I was reminded that I should never allow the weight of the world’s bad news to enable me to underestimate the truth of God’s promises. Even when the news is not what I prayed or hoped for, I can still trust the truth, “Your God reigns.”
But in this small, solitary moment, I was also reminded of one final truth that is vital for daily living. That truth is that life is not lived in big moments. It is lived in small moments. Each of those small moments make up a lifetime and a legacy, and they have far greater-reaching impact than we’ll ever know. Little things are NOT little.
Of course, there will be big moments that leave a lasting impact. There will be weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, funerals, graduations, celebrations, once-in-a-lifetime trips, and the like. But most of life is lived in the moments in between. There will be the brief, early-morning interaction just before we head our separate ways out the door. There will be the conversations around the dinner table. There will be the angst of paying bills, trips to sporting events, meetings, the drop into the recliner after a long day, the hug when you walk through the door, the barking dog waiting for the walk, the pause to recognize the breath-taking sunset, and so on and so forth. And there will be moments in a small prayer group, at a midweek prayer service we thought we didn’t have time to attend, that bring us back to what matters most.
The big moments of life generally announce their grandeur with buoyant expectation. Sometimes, they will deliver as planned. Other times, they will fail to deliver on our great expectations for them. But stuck in between all of these big moments, will be smaller, more numerous moments with much greater potential. They will not announce themselves or their grandeur. They are brilliantly awaiting our discovery, in the crevices of ordinary, everyday life. They are generally the things we brush over, think we don’t have time for, or bypass on the way to what we think are the bigger moments. Do not bypass the radiance of these moments. Little things are NOT little.
Life is not lived in big moments. It is lived in small moments. How miraculous are the moments found in the journey through the mundane! I have found them in the toss of a football in the backyard. I have found them in the push up of toothpaste from the bottom of a tube for my children’s toothbrush. I have found them in the sound of my parent’s voices on the other end of the telephone line. I have found them in the glaze covering the circumference of a donut, I have found them in the run through a sprinkler. I have found them in the hug before bed. And I have found them on the fifth row of a midweek prayer service, alongside a bunch of other struggling people. Little things are not little. Life is not lived in the big moments. It is lived best in the little moments. Oh how grand is the wonder they possess, if we’ll just take the time to notice.