Where’s the miracle? (pt 1)

Whether a Christian or not, anyone who has engaged in even a cursory reading of the Bible observes the number of miracles recorded in its pages. Encountering these stories the reader is afforded, it seems to me, three basic responses: belief, disbelief, or disappointment. The first & last of these responses I take to be uniquely Christian. By belief I mean that the reader trusts that a miracle–something that defies natural laws– actually occurred. By disappointment I mean that the reader, believing that such miracles happened, experiences some lack of satisfaction or unfulfilled hope when he concludes that similar occurrences have not happened to/for him.

Almost 10 years ago I was struck with anxiety while attempting to navigate a major life transition. I pleaded with God to heal me. God has graciously granted a measure of restoration but all indications point to the fact that, in my case, the disorder is here to stay. I believe God was (and is) able to remove my illness as He did for others in biblical accounts but I was disappointed to find no complete, miraculous healing.

I look at the Williams family. Jeremy & Jennifer (along with countless others) have prayed for miraculous healing. Jeremy is suffering the debilitating effects of ALS. Jennifer was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Before ALS & breast cancer, their son Jacob was born with spina bifida. In each case, countless petitions failed to procure a miraculous healing. Jacob is in a wheelchair. Jeremy’s ALS progresses. Jennifer underwent a double mastectomy with chemo to follow.

Of course, the miraculous need not be limited to acts of healing. A miraculous provision in a time of need would be welcomed as would a divine sign when standing at one of life’s crossroads. We could point to broken homes which were in desperate need of a miracle that never came or the sometimes maddening normalcy in a local church that could be remedied by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. The point is that any honest Christian can point to a time in which he asked God to do the (humanly) impossible but eventually realized that natural law was to carry the day.

I don’t doubt that miracles still happen. However, I think I’m like a majority(?) of Christians who deal with more disappointment than delight when it comes to the realm of the miraculous. So where are the miracles? Or maybe more accurately: why aren’t the miracles coming my way?

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Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

3 thoughts on “Where’s the miracle? (pt 1)”

  1. A variety of answers has been posed to the age-old question. On a personal level, I ate nonfoods my entire life and then petitioned friends for prayer when Natural Law kicked in. (Not downplaying or simplifying the other cases you name). The Reformed tradition believes miracles were part of His revelatory live canon, so to speak, and as Scripture is closed (with its completed disclosure), so too have they ceased. But in the end, theology does not satisfy the cries of the heart. Job 42, right? Where WERE we when He rolled out the universe and furnished it in spectacle? We are but a vapor, indeed. Not preaching at anyone. J.I. Packer said we must acknowledge the mystery of God. I don’t see that He would remain God were we to be able to unlock the secrets of His glory.

  2. I have wrestled with this recently. My main question was , “Was I not persistent enough in prayer?”, but I was, which left me to wonder: perhaps the change in my heart through persistent prayer and the hope that I still have although no miracle came is a miracle in and of itself.

  3. Hello Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    I hope you guys are having a blessed Monday :). I wanted to share with y’all a few circumstances I have encounter in my life to encourage you guys and show you how God has brought me through these situations.

    I have dealt with many sicknesses in my life. Born with a hole in my heart, appendix burst at 11 years old and ended up getting gangrene (basically acid that eats your body from the inside and out), received obstructions on my intestines at age 22, due to prior surgery of my appendix. I have wondered why Lord have you protected me and kept me alive through all these circumstances. The question WHY? I wonder if He ever gets tired of His children asking that question, “Why Lord.” Or “What If.” I think through these circumstances I have felt closer to The Lord because I completely rely on Him. Here is a wonderful scripture in Romans 8:18-28 that explains it all,”

    18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

    26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[g] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose.”

    I think we should ask God why we are going through our sickness/circumstance is,”What can I do to glorify you through this Lord. How can Christ through me grow your kingdom through this circumstance?” I think the focus needs to be more on the Lord instead of poor pity me. We are only here for a season like James 4:14-17 says, ”

    14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

    In conclusion, while we are going through the sickness or circumstance it is hard to completely rely on God because we are only human. This is why it is so important to read The Word first and foremost, but also have fellow believers that can encourage you through your difficult time. Hebrews 3:13,” But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

    Here are some scriptures to encourage your through difficulty times. Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 27:1, Philippians 4:19, Philippians 4:6-8, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Jeremiah 17:7-8, Psalm 9:9-10, Matthew 11:28-30, 2 Corinthian 4:16-18

    In Christ,
    Becky Aguilar

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