Pop Pop Epistle # 197 – Happy Birthday Grayson and About Three Miracles

Dear Grayson,

Eleven. Wow.

I turned 11 in the summer of 1969. There were 2 miraculous things that happened  that summer that I often think about – even 54 years later.

It was in 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon. Upon taking the first steps, Armstrong uttered those now famous words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” In my mind, what NASA accomplished was nothing short of miraculous. The idea that we could shoot a rocket into space and have it land almost 239,000 miles away on an object that is moving 2,288 miles per hour is crazy. And then to have those astronauts safely return to the earth, which itself is orbiting the sun at 67,000 miles per hour is almost beyond belief. Almost as beyond belief as the second miracle I want to tell you about.

In 1967 the New York Mets had a record of 67 wins and 101 losses. In 1968 their record was 73-89. In 1969 they won the World Championship. The were dubbed the Miracle Mets. They were my favorite team and I can remember watching them play on TV that summer as they climbed out of a big hole. On August 14 they were 10 games behind the division leading Chicago Cubs. When the season ended they were 8 games in front. They won 38 on their last 49 games. They swept the Atlanta Braves in the divisional battle for the National League Championship and then beat the powerful Baltimore Orioles four games to one in the World Series. Definitely miracle material and as a young Met’s fan definitely beyond belief.

An argument could be made that neither Apollo 11 or the ’69 Mets were genuine miracles. They could be attributed to incredible technological advances and to “getting hot at the right time” respectively. But the third miracle I’ll tell you about was bonafide.

When I was 11 I had never been to church and knew very little about who Jesus was. But I had just moved next door to a family that did go to church and did know about Jesus. I started going to church with them when I was about 14 and the miracle began to percolate. Little by little I began to understand the gospel – specifically that I was far from God because of my sinful nature but that Jesus brought me near to God through His death on the cross where He paid the penalty that I deserved to pay for my own sins. And the bonafide miracle was that when I put my trust in Jesus and what He had done for me at age 16, God adopted me into His family and gave me a new heart – a heart that was no longer dead because of the necrotic effects of sin  but was alive to spiritual truth.

The miracle of new birth. Or as John 3 says, of being born again.

I think about those first two “miracles” from time to time. But I think about that 3rd miracle every. single. day. It has defined my life for the last 49 years. And it is within reason to say that you would not be turning 11, or be here at all, if the Lord had not done the miraculous in my life.

May He do it in yours as well!

Never forget that you are very loved,

Pop Pop

One thought on “Pop Pop Epistle # 197 – Happy Birthday Grayson and About Three Miracles

  1. I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe when the “stars align” it is the hand of God and the result is the hope of God. All these things that bring us to God, I consider miracles.

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