FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Modern-Day Miracles: Brant Hansen

with Brant Hansen | April 17, 2024
Play Pause

Are modern-day miracles a thing? Brant Hansen thinks we may be missing out on the hope happening right in front of us.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Are modern-day miracles a thing? Brant Hansen thinks we may be missing out on the hope happening right in front of us.

MP3 Download Transcript

Modern-Day Miracles: Brant Hansen

With Brant Hansen
April 17, 2024
| Download Transcript PDF

Brant: I asked this when I was growing up: “What’s the deal with having to praise God all the time? He doesn’t need anything.” It’s for us! When you or I actually tell God why He is so great, you tell Him about His faithfulness that endures to all generations; when you hear yourself singing with other people about the goodness of God, it reminds you that you don’t need to be anxious.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

Dave: This is FamilyLife Today!

Dave: Alright, we have Brant Hansen back in the studio. I’m going to read something from his own book. He wrote it. Brant wrote a riddle.

Ann: Oh, no.

Dave: Is this the first riddle you’ve ever written?

Brant: Yes. I think I’ll stop there, too. [Laughter] I peaked. I just did one.

Dave: He says, “I’m going to write a riddle. It’s weird, because I haven’t written it yet. In fact, I haven’t written any riddles. This is my first attempt.” However, I’m glad we’re here for this. We’ll always have this moment. Here we go. So what’s this riddle? “It’s extremely valuable.”

Ann: Okay.

Dave: “Every person on earth has it to give. Millions of people are very interested in getting yours; rich people, poor people, people near you, people you don’t even know. I now have yours, and it’s so valuable that even God Himself wants it from us for real. What is it?”

Ann: Well, first I was going to say “image bearers,” but that wouldn’t be [it]. Our hearts?

Dave: If you were listening earlier, Brant actually said it.

Ann: He said it? What is it?

Dave: Your attention.

Ann: Ahhh.

Dave: Isn’t that good? That’s a good riddle.

Ann: Brant, that’s a good riddle.

Brant: Thanks.

Ann: You need to write more than one.

Brant: No, I’m stopping right there. [Laughter]

Ann: Because you’re on a high note?

Brant: I don’t think I can do that again.

Ann: That’s actually really good.

Brant: Tell us why. Well, it’s everything. It shapes who you’re becoming.

Dave: Wait a minute. I was thinking about something else. What’d you just say? [Laughter]

Brant: Well, it really does. What you pay attention to today determines who you’re going to be tomorrow. That idea is very scripturally based, and it’s so valuable, when I say people are spending millions of dollars to get your attention, anything. Everybody wants your clicks, everybody wants your eyeballs, everybody wants your listening. Who’s getting it? Some people, most people, if they get your attention, they’re not going to give you life; but everything is going to be geared toward making you anxious instead.

The news networks are not going to help you overcome your anxiety. This is something I think we’ve talked about. I’m alarmed at older people—not really alarmed, but I want to say I’m alarmed [by] people—who just camp out in front of the news. You’re supposed to be at peace if you’re a believer. Joy, that sense of wellbeing regardless of circumstances, you don’t have that peace if you’re just paying attention to the news of the day. It can’t work that way.

And then we look at younger people: “Why is everybody so anxious? This culture is so anxious.” Yes, they’re supposed to look at older people and get some perspective: “This too shall pass,” “God’s in control,” “I can listen to your problems and let you know that everything is going to be alright, and here’s how.” But if you’re distracted, if you’re not at peace, we have a problem. But it’s your attention; there’s nothing more important that you have.

So, God is saying, “Give me yours, and I’m going to give you a way of life that is lighter.” He doesn’t say it’s more fun, but it’s more childlike. H

Ann: Yes.

Brant: His yoke is easier and lighter. It’s a better way to live, but we have to give Him, literally, our attention. You do pay attention; you have it to pay. It’s like you’re paying to attend the Lions game or whatever. You’re paying. You have only so much attention. Where’s it going? It’s a valuable resource.

Ann: It reminds me, too, of James saying, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials.” It just doesn’t make sense. “Wait, what? How can I have that?” But when you put your attention on God, Who He is, and what He says about you, you do have a joy.

Brant: Right; and this is something that you can’t just turn on a dime.

Ann: [You] can’t muster up.

Brant: Right. Not today. “I’m overwhelmed by this, so I’m not going to be overwhelmed. Bam!” That’s not it. Over time, you start, again, memorizing Scripture, things that are true. What’s true? You can tell yourself this and remind yourself of God’s track record, and then, you become the sort of person that just isn’t given to anxiety.

You’re drawing from this deep well; you know how this all ends; you know the Kingdom is good; you know you can bank on that. It becomes a discipline of gratitude. You become a different person, because you’re paying attention to this stuff on a daily basis.

Ann: We ended yesterday talking about God’s kingdom and bringing it to earth, having parties, what that looks like. I thought it was so inspiring. If you didn’t listen, go back and listen to yesterday.

Brant: I had a thought on this. I was just reading about this. This may come off as kind of weird, but I read an article about Disney World, the Magic Kingdom. They have a tour you can pay an extra $200 or whatever for when you’re at the park, and it’s called the “Keys to the Kingdom Tour,” ironically. [Laughter] I don’t know that they know where that phrase is from, but they’re quoting Jesus.

They take you to the lower level because, essentially, the Magic Kingdom is a two-story building. I did not know this. Underneath the entire thing is a whole other level, and it’s tunnels. It’s a huge complex of tunnels with wires hanging and tubes that take waste and trash, and that’s where all the mascots are walking around, because they don’t want a cowboy from Frontier Land showing up by the Castle. [Laughter]

Walt Disney noticed exactly that, and said, “I don’t want—a cowboy shouldn’t be here. He should show up in Frontier Land.” So, they all move around down there. All the food service stuff is going on. There are people pushing carts around. There’s garbage; there are fluorescent lights and concrete floors. And it’s just as big as the Magic Kingdom, but it’s where all the real stuff is happening.

Ann: I had no idea.

Brant: I didn’t either, until I was reading it. It’s called the “Utilidors,” like utility corridors. It’s a huge city, and it’s kind of ugly.

Ann: Yes; nobody sees it but the workers.

Brant: They acknowledge that it’s ugly down there.

Dave: Yes, it doesn’t need to be pretty.

Brant: Right, so we have this thing going on up there, but the real stuff is going on down here. I’m thinking, “That’s kind of wild because the Keys to the Kingdom—it’s exactly the opposite of the way the Kingdom of God works. We’re in the utilidors.”

Ann: Yes, the earth.

Brant: Yes, where we are, we have wires hanging, we have some trash going on, we have some ugly stuff happening; and Jesus is saying, “You’re not going to believe what’s up there” (by ‘up,’ I mean in the Disney World sense).

Ann: The next level.

Brant: God’s kingdom is beautiful, and it’s breaking through, and you’re not going to be in this darkness anymore. There’s a different reality, and the reality is so real because it’s actually realer, and it’s the one that’s going to last forever. I just thought that was an interesting inversion of what He keeps talking about. It’s His favorite subject, about how good His kingdom is.

Ann: Yes, that’s so good. Let me ask you—last week I talked to a woman. She’s just in a dark place with depression, anxiety. She was just hospitalized because she wanted to take her life, and her thought is, “I want up there. It’s good up there, and it’s horrible here.” How would you give somebody hope in saying, “No, there’s still a purpose for here?”

Brant: Well, Jesus is saying, “The Kingdom is breaking through.” This way of life is available to us now. I’m not a counselor or anything, and that hurts to hear that about her. What I’ve learned is, if when I’m His apprentice, I’m practicing the stuff He told us to do like praying for my enemies, it turns out that’s a better way to live. You feel a burden lifted, and then you start to have a heart for these people who are your enemies.

Ann: I like that you’re saying that you’re practicing it.

Brant: You practice it. Again, it’s like being an apprentice. You learn. So, I actually have done this thing with guys in my neighborhood. “Come over to my house. We’re going to talk about how to actually follow Jesus,” and we talk about it.

Dave: Just neighborhood guys.

Brant: Yes, and it’s been neat. We actually talk about how to do it, because He’s looking for followers, right? Jesus didn’t say much about converts. He’s looking for followers, people who will “follow and obey the things I’ve commanded,” He says. So, what did He say? Stuff like forgiving people as we’ve been forgiven; stuff like praying for your enemies, loving people who don’t love you, and doing things for people who won’t do that for you.

Putting that stuff into practice, it turns out, you grow up, and you become a different sort of person who’s more at ease, who’s more fun, who’s more childlike, [and] who’s not overcome by anxiety. It’s indirect. It’s not just like this magic spell where you say, “No more anxiety!” and snap [your] fingers three times. It’s becoming the sort of person that’s, in the way of Jesus, where you’re becoming transformed because you’re living this lifestyle, where His kingdom breaks through in your life.

Dave: Yes. I think sometimes when we’re down in the—what’s it called? Utilidors?

Brant: Utilidors, yes.

Dave: —I think, for some of us, we never got a glimpse of the Magic Kingdom. There’s not even a window, there’s not a crack where we see light, and so, we don’t believe there is anything else.

Ann: Yes.

Brant: Okay, so this is what’s so great! When He says the Kingdom is breaking through, He’s constantly describing it. “The Kingdom is like this. The Kingdom is like that.” He’s trying to describe it over and over, how good it is. But then, we can see it in our own life. I used the examples in the book, because I’m visiting these hospitals a lot, CURE International Children’s Hospitals.

Dave: We have to go.

Ann: We do. Yes.

Dave: I’m just saying we have to go.

Brant: It’s the sweetest thing, because you’re seeing these kids being healed who have been considered cursed. You’re seeing these moms who have been blamed. If you have a child with a disability—

Ann: “It’s your fault.”

Brant: —being told, “It’s not your fault, Mom. God loves you. He’s stored your tears in a bottle.”

Dave: Do they just weep because nobody’s told them that?

Brant: Oh, yes. There is not a day where there’s not tears of joy in these hospitals. I’m not exaggerating. The kids come out of the operating room different, and their moms see them for the first time. A baby has a tumor removed. She thought they were going to die, or that they were afflicted because she was immoral, and that’s why this baby [has this issue], and [why] dad’s abandoned them. And then, we say, “We’re going to heal your child. God loves you. Here’s your baby. The tumor is gone.”

That’s the Kingdom breaking through.

Dave: Yes.

Brant: So, seeing that stuff as I have, I like to tell stories about it, because I want people to know what God is actually doing. If you think, “I don’t see this happening,” I do. When you understand what that Kingdom is like, you do start to notice things in your own life where His Kingdom breaks through, where the humble are exalted, where the last are first, where healing happens. It’s a pretty sweet thing.

Ann: You tell a story about a friend of yours, who is a doctor, who went over.

Brant: Yes, Dr. Ben. He’s nice. He lets me talk about this. He’s the best.

Dave: How do you know him?

Brant: Through CURE is how I met him first. He’s a neurosurgeon, a guy from Kentucky,and just a sweet friend. He and his wife had a bunch of kids. I won’t get too specific with it, but one of their kids has a major disfiguring disease, and she has dealt with this. She’s an adult now, but people run away screaming, in America. What she looks like is very pronounced. They love her dearly, of course.

Well, he wanted to be a missionary doctor, and had asked several different missions organizations, “Can I do my thing with you guys?” He got rejected because of his daughter.

Ann: Whoa!

Brant: They said, “If you move to this country, and you have a daughter who looks like that, they’re going to think that she’s possessed, or you are cursed.” Well, CURE said “Yes,” so he went to work for CURE. As it happened, he wound up starting a new hospital in Uganda with his family. Well, he’s dealing with a lot of families who have kids with disabilities.

They look up to him because he’s an American, he’s a doctor, and then, they see how he loves his daughter, and they all resonate with it: “Oh, we’re supposed to treat our kids like that, not reject them,” which is a beautiful thing. There’s a high incidence of hydrocephalus in Uganda, it turns out. These are kids that are born; they’re babies, and their head starts swelling, because there’s water on the brain.

It becomes fatal at some point, and there are so many of these kids. If you treat them the normal way, they’re going to need their shunt replaced—because you have a shunt placed, and you’ll need it replaced—because it can go bad after a few years. Well, if they live 600 miles away, they don’t have money to get back to any hospital to have that replaced. It’s not going to happen. The child will die.

So, Ben, out of necessity, came up with a shunt-free procedure at this CURE hospital. It’s the first time in the world anyone’s ever done that, and now it’s practiced in the U.S., even. American doctors go to Uganda to study this procedure.

Ann: Wow.

Brant: And by the thousands, moms come to this hospital holding these babies who have giant heads. They think they’re cursed, they’re freaks, they’re monsters. That’s what they’re told. And so, I told a story in the book about one particular family. The people called their child a monster, because his head was so big. They didn’t know what was going on.

They had faith healers come—traditional healers or whatever you want to call it. Witch doctors did everything they could. It wasn’t working. People came from villages around, basically like it was a freak show, to see this monster, like “Look at this!” They found out about CURE, their kid is healed in the Name of Jesus; swelling goes down. They go back to the village, and people are freaking out. [Laughter]

“Who did this? Who would do something like this? How did this happen?”

Ann: These are like Jesus stories of people that are healed and possessed, and—

Brant: —it is. He’s still doing this stuff, right?

Ann: Yes.

Brant: But it’s through us, His hands and feet. We get to be healers, too. So, when that happened, everybody filed back. They wanted to see what happened, and they didn’t call him “the monster” anymore; they called him “the miracle.” This happens by the thousands, and when these women are coming to these hospitals, they think they’re the only one who has a child like this; [that] they have some sort of cursed child, a monster.

And then they get to the front—I’ve been into this hospital—the front waiting room. It’s just one woman coming in, looking around, and seeing all these other moms sitting there with these babies with big heads, and they’re looking at her like, “Sit down, honey.”

Ann: “I know.”

Brant: “We know what’s going to happen now. You came to the right place.” It is dancing; it is joy; it is complete, unfettered mirth [with] all these moms. “Instant sorority,” is what Doctor Ben calls it. He’s at Harvard now, but he trained neurosurgeons from Uganda to do this, and no one on the planet does more surgeries like this than that hospital, all in the Name of Jesus.

Ann: Wow.

Brant: So, if you think, “I don’t know what God’s doing in the world,” just because you’re watching the news all the time! They’re not going to talk about that.

Ann: Yes.

Brant: But He is at work. He’s where He’s always been: He’s with the marginalized; He’s with heartbroken moms, and He’s doing miracles through His people.

Ann: And yet, he could be bitter by the fact that his daughter wasn’t healed or couldn’t be healed.

Brant: Right.

Ann: I could see being angry with God. “Wait. I’m doing all this for these others.” Because we can tend to put our attention and our eyes on ourselves and have a pity party for ourselves, instead of having a party for someone else.

Brant: And that’s a fair question, but I know that’s something that he’s had to work through as she’s grown up. However, look at the story now.

Ann: Yes.

Brant: Look at all the healing that happened and is continuing to happen. These babies would die—thousands.

Ann: Thousands.

Brant: It’s because he wound up there, and her condition wound up being a blessing that freed thousands of kids with disabilities. Now their parents know how to treat them. That Kingdom is breaking through, make no mistake. It can in our lives. He’s waiting for us to say, “I want to be a part of that,” and He’s telling us, “Here’s how you do it. Here’s how to live.”

I think, unfortunately, we’re missing that, because a lot of us are just saying, “Yes, I have the right theology; therefore, I’m okay.” No! There’s this way of being that’s the Way—Jesus is the Way; there’s a way of living—that’s actually going to free you and free me, and it’s a lighter way. It winds up, by letting His kingdom into our lives like this, we become less anxious. We get more focused on that, and we seek that first, and things start to fall in line. It’s incredibly healthy.

Dave: It’s also interesting, as you hear the story—when I read it I thought, “What if her dad—what if Ben chose bitterness, chose anger, or maybe gave her away? ‘I don’t want to tolerate having to raise this defective person.’”

Ann: That’s what some people would say.

Dave: This miracle—God probably does it a different way, but it doesn’t happen. And because a father said, “Nope. We’re going to love her. We’re going to trust God,” God does a miracle through this, where you never thought it would come.

Brant: Totally. Another awesome feature of this story is that that wasn’t a big plan. That’s a way of living, too. I think we’re all about, “I have to have this big plan. God wants to do big things, but I have to have a big vision.” I don’t actually subscribe to that, that I have to have a big plan. My thinking is, “Be faithful with today, with whoever God crosses my path. Let God make a way for me.”

You look at Ben’s story: it wasn’t, “I’m going to start a hospital in Uganda.”

Dave: Yes.

Brant: Each part of that was not orchestrated by him and look at what God has done. It’s being faithful with what crosses your path today. This is a much less anxious way to live, and when you’re not anxious about tomorrow, you can say, “God, that’s Your department. I’m outsourcing this to You. I can’t control this.” You can actually focus on the person who’s in front of you.

Ann: I was going to say, I can tell when I’m burdened by things; when I’m stressed, when I’m too busy, when I’m tired. I don’t see the world around me, because I’m just focused on me and my problems.

Brant: Right.

Dave: All your attention, where we started—

Ann: Yes, attention is on me.

Dave: Myself, yes.

Ann: And part of it is, when I’m in Scripture, it takes my eyes off of me. When I’m in a study or I’m talking to other people, it takes my eyes off of me. I can tell when I’m healthy spiritually when I start seeing other people.

Brant: Yes, and you can relax. This is so important, too, because I asked this when I was growing up: “What’s the deal with having to praise God all the time? Is God like, ‘Praise Me?’”

Ann: [Laughter] I used to think that, too, like, “Is He a narcissist?”

Brant: Right. What is it? “I want you to praise Me now. Never stop praising Me.” What is the deal? I’ve had friends ask—recently, I got a note from a teenage guy who asked, “What’s up with that? Why does God need us to praise?” He doesn’t need us to do that. He doesn’t need anything. He’s perfectly content. He is a joyful creature. It’s for us.

Ann: Yes.

Brant: It’s for us. When you or I actually tell God why He is so great, you tell Him about His faithfulness that endures to all generations; when you hear yourself singing with other people about the goodness of God and His character, it reminds you that you don’t need to be anxious. It’s for us. It’s a healthier way to live, but that’s something we lose. We forget.

Again, just memorizing some Scripture, singing songs, all this stuff is not just goofy stuff for no reason. Everything Jesus tells us to do, everything that’s biblical is actually for our own good.

Ann: For our good.

Brant: This is a better way of living. It’s freer. He knows. He made us. He knows how to do this, and He’s literally saying [deep voice], “You don’t need to worry. I’ve got this.” [Laughter]

Ann: As I read through the Bible every year, there’s always—

Dave: —she’s not bragging, but she reads through the Bible every year.

Brant: That’s pretty cool.

Ann: That’s because I need it. There’s an Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm and then a Proverb. When I get to the Psalms, not every time, but most times, I will stand up, I’ll look outside a window, and I’ll read the Psalm out loud; not because God needs it, [but] because it does my soul good, and it reminds me, “He is good. He is safe.”

Brant: It aligns you with the truth about His Kingdom. He is in charge.

Ann: Yes.

Brant: This is a very good thing, and it makes you like a little kid again. I can trust my loving parent. I don’t have to control everything.

Ann: Yes; and I don’t always want to do that—

Brant: —no, but it’s like David saying, “I’m telling my soul. I’m reminding myself He is good.”

Brant: Right. That’s so great. I remember having this nightmare as a kid. I don’t know if other people have this nightmare, but I remember having a recurring nightmare where I’m in a car at the top of a hill, and my mom’s not in the car, and it suddenly starts rolling down.

Ann: Oh! No. I’ve never. Have you had that nightmare?

Dave: I haven’t had that one.

Brant: You could have said, “Oh, yes. Sure, Brant. You’re not crazy. [Laughter] This is normal.” [Laughter]

Dave: No, you might be crazy.

Brant: It was scary because it rolls down a hillm and I think, “I don’t know how to drive. I don’t know how to control this thing, this recurring thing.” But as an adult, it’s actually healthy to realize, “I don’t control much.”

Ann: “I don’t know how to drive.”

Brant: I don’t. “God, You’re going to have to do this. I’m just going to be faithful with today, what I can do.” It’s a very childlike thing. Children are lighter at heart, and it’s sweet.

Ann: Yes.

Brant: “God, You have to take that. I’m not even going to worry about today. I’m just going to be faithful with whoever is in front of me.”

Dave: Yes, and maybe, you’ll end up throwing a party for your lawn service guys today.

Brant: Yes, maybe so.

Dave: You just don’t know.

Brant: This is a fun way to live, I can tell you that.

Shelby: Be faithful with today. Let God control things, because all the control we think we have is actually an illusion anyway, right? Such an important and beautiful reminder that we can apply to our lives right now. Literally, right now, we can apply this to our lives: “I want to be faithful with what You have given me today, God, and everything else belongs to You.”

I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with one of our favorites, Brant Hansen, on FamilyLife Today. Brant has written a book called Life is Hard. God is Good. Let’s Dance.: Experiencing Real Joy in a World Gone Mad. How do you discover joy beyond your circumstances? Well, Brant unpacks that in his book, and that book itself is going to be our gift to you when you partner with us today.

You can get your copy right now with any donation by going online to, clicking on the “Donate Now” button at the top of the page, and it will walk you through what to do from there. Or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329; again, that number is 800-“F” as in, you guessed it, family, “L” as in, that’s right, life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Or you can drop us a donation in the mail if you’d like, too. Our address is, yes: FamilyLife, 100 Lake Hart Drive, Orlando, Florida 32832.

Tomorrow, Darrin and Vivian Mabuni are going to be here with Dave and Ann Wilson to explore the transformative power of surrender. That’s not often something that many of us, myself included, think about, so I’m looking forward to that.


On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a donor-supported production of FamilyLife®, a Cru® Ministry.

Helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.


We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs? 

Copyright © 2024 FamilyLife. All rights reserved.