Monday, November 27, 2017

On Miracles

There is no shortage of miracles in the Bible. In fact, as we've been looking at through the lens of healings in the Gospels, God's ability to do the miraculous is one of the primary reasons that persons, historically, turned to Him. 

Not so much any more, and I wonder if part of the reason for that is because we have lost our sense of what a miracle truly is.

This topic actually comes up a lot, even when persons are hesitant to use the word "miracle." Instead, they often say something like "what God does" or "God doing something." But not a miraculous something. Just a something. And an overwhelming voice within the Christian community has concluded that what God is doing today, He is doing more quietly than He did in the Bible.

God's "miracles" of today are clothed, they say, in modern medicine. Or in human grit. Or in some other kind of cloth where we would not quite recognize them if we did not believe that they were given by God's hand. 

They say, for example, that chemotherapy is a miracle. That God has enabled men to discover, create, modify, and utilize this incredible medicine that holds cancer at bay, at least for a little while, and even sends some scampering away for good. Which might be a miracle, I guess, unless you happen to be one of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of persons for whom chemotherapy is not effective. Then, well...some miracle.

They say that it is a miracle that a single mother holds on and makes it through, raising good kids on her minimum-wage (or below-minimum-wage) waitressing job. That God has enabled her not to give up, but to find some reservoir of strength that pushes her through, no matter how hard her circumstances press in on her. Which might be a miracle, I guess, unless you happen to be one of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of single mothers who doesn't make it through, whose children are taken away, whose apartment is rented out from under her. Then, well...some miracle. 

They say that it is a miracle that some kids finish high school at all, that some persons find love in this world, that the store happens to have one last item on the shelf that you were looking for when you were looking for it. They say that it's a miracle when you open your wallet and have just enough cash or when you forget to pick something up and come home only to find that you didn't really need it anyway.

They say, because they don't know what else to say, that God's miracles today are these quiet kinds of things, these everyday kinds of things that you'd have to know God to know that He was doing them.

And I say, well...some miracle.

There are a lot of problems, both theologically and practically, with thinking of these kinds of things as miracles. Serious problems. 

That doesn't mean - hear me now - that doesn't mean that these are not beautiful things. That doesn't mean that they are not incredible, wonderful things. That doesn't mean that they don't have God's hand all over them, that they have not been scrawled in His own handwriting. It doesn't mean that at all. 

It only means they are not miracles, and if we settle for thinking that they are, we are selling God short. Way short. 

It's no wonder we're not hearing the kinds of stories the Gospels are full of. We don't need them. 

We're perfectly content with far, far less. 

No comments:

Post a Comment