Believing in Miracles

Blog 11-25-18

In a modern, science-based, data-driven society, everyday supernatural miracles are often difficult to ascertain. Even in our evangelical circles that have a strong emphasis on a ministry of the word (teaching and studying the Bible), we have a tendency to over-intellectualize our reading of scripture and downplay the spiritual activity of God. At Restoration Church, we have sought to recover and acknowledge all that God has done and is actively doing in our world, both through a ministry of his Word, but also through the power of his Spirit.

So if I may, allow me to share a story with you.

Remember the Wonders

On Sunday morning, just prior to our weekly worship gathering, our youngest daughter took a little fall (with a little help from her older brother who was doing what brothers do). She showed no signs of physical injury, but was clearly distraught by the incident. Simply put, she was a bit of a hot mess from that point on and only wanted the comfort of her Mommy. But even then, that didn’t seem to be enough. As members of our church gathered in our home for weekly worship, we chatted, encouraged one another, and began our study in the Bible. However, Mary continued to tend to our youngest who was clearly still very upset, uncomfortable, and attempting to describe whatever pain she was feeling as a two-year old.

As a group, we were busy listing the habits of gratitude that are described in a song of worship and praise from 1 Chronicles 16:8-36. One of the items on our list was “remember”, based on verse 12 which says, “Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given.” When we remember what God has done, we are drawn to give him the honor, praise, and gratitude that is rightful due to him, and that leads us to worship and praise his name. Then, as we worship the Lord, we remember His deeds and miracles once again, and a heart of gratitude is further formed. It’s based on a simple idea that gratitude cultivates worship, and worship cultivates gratitude.

As we neared the end of our list, Mary caught my eye with our youngest. She was clearly becoming alarmed and so were others in our midst. I stopped and I helped tend to my daughter in the middle of our discussion and teaching time. She was still very distraught and her right arm appeared limp. Seeing that there was little we could do for her in the moment, apart from considering taking her to the emergency room later in the day, we decided to do the one thing the Lord invites us to do: pray.

Together as a church community, we prayed in the power of the Spirit over our daughter. For the few moments we prayed my daughter lay still, at peace, and without a care. She cried a few more times as we continued on, but Mary took her into the other room, only a few moments later to return as the happy, cheerful, carefree girl that she naturally is. Don’t let the significance of this moment slip by. It’s easy for us to begin to rationalize what had taken place. Even some of us in the room were beginning to make rationalized, educated guesses as to what may have just occurred. But there was no denying what really just took place. My daughter was miraculously healed.

We prayed together as a community of faithful followers of Jesus. We asked the Lord to heal her. We asked that he would demonstrate a miracle to us. We prayed in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. And he faithfully answered us by demonstrating a wonder right before our eyes. If our gratitude cultivates worship, and our worship cultivates gratitude, then it is the Lord who must initiate the supernatural works of wonder that undeniably belong only to him.

Lives Changed

It’s awesome to see the Lord work in seemingly simple, yet big ways. From performing a near-immediate healing to providing an unexpected financial gift that keeps our ministry going (yes, that just happened too), these are not to be dismissed as trite. Rather, they are stepping stones to his greatest acts of wonder: transforming a life.

When God redeems an individual through the forgiveness of their sin and extends an invitation to be born again through the power of his indwelling Spirit, that is a true act of wonder that can only be described as a miracle. What’s even more amazing is that these miraculous acts are happening everyday around the world, and its a privilege to be on the front lines for any Christian who is able to actively participate in God’s saving work.

Take for example a student in my class this semester at Trinity International University who has seen a dramatic change in how he perceives and interacts in the world because of an encounter with the Lord. The student wrote this in a recent assignment:

I have been lost for most of my life, and I want people to have the same mindset as I do now. There is more to life than what we are living now, and there is a higher purpose to everything we do. But none of this will open up to us unless we accept Christ and live our lives for him.  -J

I believe there is no greater cause than to bring life and renewal in the name of Jesus. What a joy it is to be part of His calling and to share this good news with the world.

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
  Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
  Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
(1 Chronicles 16:8-9)

By the Cross and for the Kingdom,
Matt