Monday, July 30, 2007

Bring Back the Miracles

Lately I’ve been reading the Gospels of the New Testament, and as always I’m intrigued by the many “miraculous signs and wonders” Jesus performed during His ministry on Earth. He turned water into wine, calmed a raging sea, walked on water, and fed thousands of people with only a few loaves and fishes, not to mention the everyday activity of healing the sick and disabled. Jesus’ miracles were a highly effective tool for convincing the people of the day that He truly was the Christ. Even after Jesus was crucified, the Disciples went right on healing people in His name.

All that’s fine and good, but here’s what bugs me about the whole thing: Why, when the world is so sick and lost, when there are so many “idols” to turn to in place of God and people seek Him less than ever before, did the miracles stop?

I guess there’s always the possibility that those stories you see about the statues of Christ that cry blood aren’t hoaxes, and maybe Benny Hinn really can heal people. And who knows – maybe it really was God who burned the image of the Virgin Mary onto that lady in Florida’s grilled cheese sandwich.

But I just can’t buy it. I don’t think God would allow people to profit financially from His miracles, which seems to be standard practice in these kinds of cases. And honestly, I just don’t think God is that lame and cheesy.

And even if Jesus came back today and started performing the same miracles He did before, I doubt that would work either. We’d write Him off as a skilled illusionist, or Science would devise a method to explain it all away. Today’s society is way too jaded to take anything at face value, and much too “intelligent” to accept anything on faith.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I’ve decided that God didn’t retire from the miracle business at all; He just changed his tactics.

A friend of mine turned her back on God and was in such a deep pit of depression and despair, it seemed that she’d never make it out. No one could get through to her, and no one could help her. No pills could stop the hurt. Her life crumbled around her, and she and those who loved her were powerless to stop it. I feared she would give up. But one day, she suddenly woke up with the strength and determination to not only keep going, but to change things for the better, fight to regain what she’d lost, and to make a difference with her life. To me, that was a miracle.

And I know that countless others could tell similar stories - women who suddenly find themselves pregnant though the doctors said it was hopeless; marriages that overcome infidelity and separation to blossom; drug addicts who beat the odds and kick their habits; newborn babies initially given weeks to live who grow up to see adulthood; “prodigal sons” who come home to their parents– the list could go on and on.

We’ve got technology and modern medicine to meet our every physical need, but I bet all of us have prayed for an emotional, spiritual, or personal miracle at one time or another. And I think God is ready and waiting to deliver.

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