How many miracles have you seen lately? Most American Christians seem to think miracles are exceedingly rare. Perhaps you know someone who has been healed, but it happened years ago. Or maybe you don’t think God does miracles in this day and age.
Our missions pastor said something recently that really bothered me. He encouraged our Sunday School class to go on a short-term mission trip because it would give them an opportunity to see God do miracles. That’s right—raise $3,000, travel halfway around the world, and maybe you’ll get to see God do something amazing.
He had a point though. God does seem to do a lot more miracles in other countries than He does here in the States. Even most of the “big deal” miracles that Pete and I have experienced happened overseas. (See my posts about miracles in South Africa, Costa Rica, and Korea.)
Why do believers in other countries see miracles, while we don’t? I think the answer is in Mark 6:1-6a (I urge you to click on the link and read it now). It’s our “Jesus is my buddy” familiarity, combined with a lack of faith.
Haven’t we lost our fear of God? At least in the evangelical church, we often treat Jesus as a vending machine dispensing the “good life,” not as the omnipotent Lord of the universe. We use the word “awesome” to describe a really good plate of spaghetti, but treat Jesus’ atonement as a license to please ourselves rather than God.
Then there’s our lack of faith. Our secular culture doesn’t really believe in a Biblical view of the supernatural. Liberal theologists have gone so far as to discount every miracle in the Bible! While we Christians claim to have a different worldview, we’ve been influenced by the society we live in.
If you don’t believe in healing, you’re unlikely to even pray for God to heal, much less expect Him to say yes.
Our (rather large) small group has been studying Acts. It seems clear that in the early church, at least, miracles were the norm, not the exception.
In Acts 3: 1-12, Peter and John heal a lame beggar, then chastise the Jews for being surprised at God’s power. Acts 5:12 says, “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people.” A few verses later (v.16), “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Skip to Acts 8:6: “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.” And so on….
In response, we’ve been praying for a lot of miracles lately. People with cancer and other serious health issues, child custody battles, unsaved family members, unemployment—the topics vary but a sense of desperation permeates every prayer. We need God to act. And He is.
In the past several months, we’ve seen some incredible answers. A friend healed of incurable Crohn’s Disease (verified by several doctors). Complete recovery from a near-lethal brain aneurism. Several finding new jobs when the local unemployment rate is close to 10%. Homes saved from foreclosure. Children rescued from manipulative, abusive ex-spouses. Families reunited after years of grudges and separation.
You can decide whether any of these qualify as miracles, but I can assure you that those whose prayers were answered have no doubt.
We have the authority, as believers, to ask for miracles and expect God to respond. Of course, He is still Lord, and his will overrides ours. But it’s amazing what God will do when we simply ask and believe. We don’t have to go somewhere like Africa or India to see God at work. He’s working right here in Colorado!