The Most Important Thing With Miracles is to See Them

Drawing by the author. Drawing by the author.     

A miracle is an event that differs from everyday things in a startling manner—this is what I used to think until many years ago, when I chanced to hear the following dialogue.

Two little boys of about eight or nine years old were talking about miracles. Their words were simple, but clear and precise. Listening to them, I experienced something inexplicable.

Listing the various miraculous things that had happened to them, it was as if they were arguing: “I could have drowned,” “I nearly got lost in the forest,” “I saw a whale in the sea,” “I found a nest with chicks inside,” “I lost my cross but found it.” They then drew some conclusions and exchanged views.

Anyone who remembers being a child will understand me. At that moment, I saw the hearts of two little boys who saw a miracle in every breath of life, who were open to all that is new. It pains me to say that adults lose this skill, though they yearn for something extraordinary that would contrast with their day-to-day life. But were miracles to occur, would these twenty-first century people, with their money and entertainment, believe in them?

The boys made me nostalgic for my childhood, for the joy that accompanied all my new impressions. A daily miracle isn’t about a fireworks or fanfare, or some outstanding and unforgettable events—it’s about the quiet and unremarkable episodes that help strengthen our faith and cope with grief. With miracles, the most important thing is to see them...

For many days my baby daughter had been suffering from a fever. She was so weak that she could only lie down. A pediatrician suggested taking her to the hospital, but I refused, knowing that it wouldn’t make a difference. The doctor got angry with me, wrote me a prescription, and left.

Desperate and unsure I had made the right decision, I called my daughter’s Godfather to ask him to pray for her. It turned out he was at church at that moment, and the Divine Liturgy was about to start. He promised to pray for her health. Thanking him, I took my frail little daughter’s hand into mine and began to pray.

When about half an hour later my little baby sat up in her bed and asked me to bring her something to drink, I was surprised. The fever was gone. She was feeling better.

I would later find out that her Godfather had immediately asked other people to pray for her recovery…

One summer day, my youngest son and I were hurriedly leaving church after the Divine Liturgy when someone called out to us. So we had to stay and talk to that person.

Our way home took us past a construction site. As we got closer, I noticed that a crane was moving in a strange way—it was crashing down!

I pulled my son, who was carelessly running ahead of me, into my arms, and we rushed a couple meters back. At that moment, the crane had already broken through the roof of the bus stop, which was now hanging dangerously above the road and an oncoming car. In just a second, it could fall on the car!

Luckily enough, the crane got caught in the power line, slowing its fall. The car managed to pass beneath it unscathed. A few seconds later, the crane fell heavily onto the road breaking some birch trees. No one was hurt.

I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t tarried in the church a little longer to talk to that person. In fact, we would’ve been walking right under the roof of that very bus station.

“Your guardian angel has quite the job,” my friends said. They said the same thing a year later when I miraculously survived a car accident with only minor injuries.

My friends were right. It was in these moments that I could feel the presence of a protective force as never before. One of the most miraculous events, however, happened to me after praying to the Theotokos and St. John of Kronstadt.

My daughter and I were going to the village of Pinega in the northern part of Russia. We’d never been there, and were really looking forward to the trip. The day before we were supposed to leave, my daughter came down with a high fever. She had no other symptoms but her temperature. I spend the entire evening taking care of her. Exhausted, I sat down beside her bed and began to pray to St. John of Kronstadt, who was born in the Pinega region.

Suddenly I saw, like in a dream, a dark, ancient icon of the Theotokos. I could hardly make out the image of the Theotokos. I was astonished, but understood that I should pray to her. My daughter recovered by the morning, we arrived at Pinega safe and sound, and we even managed to receive Holy Communion at the Liturgy in the local Holy Trinity Church.

At the end of the Liturgy, I saw that very icon I had seen in my dream the day before. Fr. Alexiy, the church rector, told me that parishioners brought the icon to the church but he didn’t know its history or what it was called. He noted, however, that the Theotokos’ face had recently become clearer.

It didn’t matter to me whether it was a coincidence or not. In any case, it was thanks to the prayers of the Theotokos that my daughter was now healthy.

We’ve had plenty of miracles in our family. My husband recovered after the children prayed for him, a dangerous journey by my relatives turned out fine, our amaryllis bloomed though we were sure it hadn’t survived the frost.

Speaking of the amaryllis, this flower is really amazing. From the time we bought it, it had never flowered, and then completely died. Or so we thought. But then it began to bloom after a number of misfortunes befell my family. It began blooming as if to comfort us.

Another miracle, this time in a flower pot. Since then, the amaryllis has given us bright red flowers every spring. It is evidence that Heaven hears all our prayers, from the sincere wish of a child to an adult’s prayer lasting many hours. Heaven responds to our prayers through miracles of all sizes, sometimes small like the blooming of a flower, and other times, in the saving of someone’s life. With miracles, the most important thing is to see them.

Olga Vladimirova
Translation by Maria Litzman
From the Archangelsk Metropolia Bulletin, №1/2021


Paul5/16/2021 10:05 am
Thank you for this. It's often said that thanks to modern living many of us have lost touch with the natural world, in that we can no longer "read" the signs of the weather or other natural events. I wonder whether that is the same with miracles - in that modern life and rationalism have dulled our senses so we no longer see God at work?
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