The Mystery of Modern Miracles


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It doesn’t take an expert in theology to figure out that a good portion of the Bible is devoted to the miraculous.

You can barely make it out of the first verse of Genesis without running headlong into one.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

And the rest is, as they say, biblical history.

The flood.

Abraham and Sarah’s bouncing baby boy.

The Red Sea.

The virgin birth.

The ministry of Jesus.

The resurrection.

You get the drift.

And if the Bible is the record of God dealing with man, the presence of miracles shouldn’t surprise us at all.

But these days, more and more people who hear about the seemingly constant intervention by God in the realm of human events have a simple question for the Lord –

“What have you done for us lately?”

If  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), why don’t we see miracles happening like they did in the book of Acts?

The answer might surprise you.

First of all, even in Bible times God never did miracles “on demand”.

In fact, Jesus had a pretty blunt assesment of the internal condition of the “If God wants me to believe in Him, why doesn’t He show me a sign?” crowd.

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.  He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’;  and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.  A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. (Matthew 16:1-4)

In essence, Jesus was saying, “In light of the fact that You have My Word, and can plainly see that I am fulfilling My Word, why do you need additional data to come to a conclusion?”

The problem wasn’t in Jesus’ critics heads, but in their hearts.

It wasn’t that they couldn’t believe, but that they wouldn’t believe.

People in our day say things like, “If God wants me to believe, why doesn’t He appear to me in the sky tonight?”

But the fact is, a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

I have always had the sneaky suspicion that if God honored that request at 7 pm, a neat and plausible theory to explain the whole thing away would be solidly in place before midnight.

But let’s up the ante in our discussion with this provocative thought –

“Who is to say that God isn’t doing miracles in our day?”

I know. I know.

You are thinking, “Wait a minute – you aren’t saying that signs and wonders on a biblical scale are happening right now, are you? Are you telling me that to head on down to Sinai and wait for the next parting of the Red Sea?”

Yes.

And No.

First of all, miracles are happening today.

In fact, the results of a Pew research survey indicates that there is a significant increase in people experiencing the miraculous over the last fifty years.

In response to a separate question, half of Americans (49%) say they have had “a religious or mystical experience – that is, a moment of religious or spiritual awakening.” This is roughly the same as the number that said this in 2006 (47%), but it represents a sharp increase over the past four decades. In 1962, only 22% of Americans reported having had such an experience, which grew to about a third in 1976 (31%) and 1994 (33%). Since then, the number has continued to increase to roughly half of the public in this decade.

Differences among Protestants are striking. Strong majorities of white evangelicals (70%) and black Protestants (71%) say they have had religious or mystical experiences, compared with four-in-ten mainline Protestants (40%). Catholics resemble mainline Protestants, with 37% having had a religious or mystical experience.

It is also important to grasp that while miracles are happening today, that doesn’t mean that they happen every day.

In fact, even in the “miracle rich” time of the book of Acts, it wasn’t as if a sign or a wonder was happening every five minutes.

Most people fail to realize that the first ten chapters of Acts cover a time period of roughly ten years.

So although miracles did occur, it wasn’t as if there were fourteen or fifteen happening per day.

And there is a reason for that.

Jesus promised His disciples that He would be with them always, even to the end of the world.

He also promised that He would give every resource necessary for His followers to effectively reach the world with the message of his love and forgiveness.

And if a miracle was necessary to accomplish this, they could count on it.

And this provides the answer to our Red Sea question.

If God today called His people out of bondage in Egypt, and Pharaoh and his armies were bearing down on them, then we could expect the Red Sea to part.

But if we are hanging out on the beach looking for a special effects show to wow a crowd, we will be disappointed.

But what if we have a need – a genuine need – and only a miracle can meet it?

In my 36 years of walking with the Lord I have seen His hand move miraculously in a number of different ways.

The fact that I overcame my pride and fear to walk forward and receive Christ was the first.

But certainly not the last.

I’ve seen God’s presence literally shake a prayer meeting.

I’ve heard God’s perspective shared in jaw dropping detail through a prophecy.

I’ve known the comfort of a loved one seeing the Lord on his death bed.

I’ve translated a beautiful prayer in Hebrew, prayed by a person who didn’t know the language.

I’ve seen an answer to prayer in which God healed a cancerous tumor in a way that left a top flight oncologist with no other words to describe the incident but “miracle”.

I’ve seen that same healing turn a hardened man’s heart from agnosticism to a personal relationship with Christ.

I’ve also seen the changes that Christ can make in my own heart that made me capable of trusting a wonderful woman to be my wife.

Oh, God is still in the miracle business.

But more often than not His constant watch care is so subtle and efficient we hardly realize all the ways He is looking out for us.

Take this to the bank – If You need a miracle in your life, God still has the same answer He has always had for His people:

“You’ve got it.”

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