Unexpected Miracles

I’ve attended church my whole life, even as a single cell. From birth I’ve heard about miracles: God creating the world, Moses parting the Red Sea, and Jesus turning water into wine, just to name a few. But I have always longed to see a “real” miracle with my own eyes. However, miracles do not occur so people can ooh and aah over them. They have a greater purpose, displaying God’s provision and power.

Miracles allow God to bless His children by providing for their needs. Paul assured the Philippians that “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.[1]” Oftentimes He provides in ways that can only be attributed to divine intervention. The Israelites survived forty years in the wilderness because God sent them quail and manna. Daniel survived the lion’s den because God sealed the lions’ mouths. Jonah survived the belly of the fish because God caused the fish to vomit him out.

Yet sometimes God’s provisions seem rather commonplace. Before college, I did not have any Christian friends I lived alongside, nor did I expect to, as there were very few Christians at my high school. My third day in Berkeley, I discovered that my next-door neighbor shared my faith. God knew I would need Christian friends as I entered a period of independence, so He provided one for me.

Besides meeting needs, miracles also exemplify God’s omnipotence. A miracle performed in Capernaum shows Jesus’s authority through His power. Four men lowered their paralytic friend through the roof of a crowded home until he was in front of Jesus.

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? “Which is easier:, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” And he got up and went home.[2]

Anyone can say, “Your sins are forgiven,” and no one can determine if they actually are. However, only by the power of Jesus can someone say, “Pick up your bed and go home” to a paralytic man and see him walk for the first time in years. Jesus’s power to heal this man showed His authority to forgive sins, since only God can do either. The miracle for this man was twofold, the miracle inside his heart and the miracle inside his limbs.

The same power that rebuilt this man’s muscles is at work in believers’ lives, renewing their inner selves day by day[3]. Before meeting Christ, I was paralyzed by pride, self-interest, and the need for universal acceptance. I am still an arrogant person who is reluctant to admit my mistakes. I am still a self-seeking person, who lives in order to please myself alone. I am still a needy person who longs for love and acceptance from everything and everyone apart from Christ. Only by being renewed by the power of the Spirit could I even want to be someone humble enough to value restored relationships over pride, far-sighted enough to put off self-glorification in light of an eternal glory, and forbearing enough to forgive those who do not deserve to be forgiven. If the same power that made the lame walk is at work in me, anything is possible.

I have never seen what would explicitly be called a miracle. However, sometimes God is not in the head-turning wind, fire, or earthquake, but rather in the still small voice[4]. The way He provides for my every need is still extraordinary and the way my heart is being renewed day by day is nothing short of a miracle. I just have to look more closely to see God’s hand in my life.

[1] Philippians 4:19 (ESV, emphasis mine)
[2] Matthew 9:2-7 (ESV)
[3] 2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV)
[4] 1 Kings 19:11-12

 

Photo credit: michaelnjio from morguefile.com.

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