Episode 1. I Believe in Miracles
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It’s easy to imagine that miracles don’t happen anymore these days. But God is a miracle working God – he was 2000 years ago and He is today. Nothing’s changed and I for one, still believe in …
It’s easy to imagine that miracles don’t happen anymore these days. But God is a miracle working God – he was 2000 years ago and He is today. Nothing’s changed and I for one, still believe in miracles.
Have you ever needed a miracle in your life? Have you ever wondered even what a miracle looks like?
Well, I decided to go to Wikipedia – the internet based encyclopaedia to find out what it says about miracles. Well, here’s the definition it came up with:
A miracle is an event believed to be caused by the interposition of divine intervention by a supernatural being in the universe by which the ordinary operation of Nature is overruled, suspended, or modified.
A bit dry and clinical isn’t it? But it’s pretty much bang on the money. Except – I happen to believe not in the divine intervention of a super natural being in the universe, I happen to believe that the only God that performs miracles, real miracles, the sort that speak of His love for us – is the same God who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for you and for me on that cross. Now, that was a miracle, not just the dying bit – as if that weren’t enough – but the being raised from the dead bit. That is one major miracle.
Now it’s easy to believe in miracles, until we desperately need one for ourselves. Until someone we love has cancer. Until we’re the ones in the jobless queue. Until it’s our marriage that’s in trouble. Then all of a sudden, it becomes incredibly hard to believe in miracles.
Miracles are a difficult subject for us to talk about. Because I know that there’s someone listening today who believed that God would do a miracle for their loved one who was dying – and they died anyway. And there’s someone who believed in a miracle when they lost their job and couldn’t afford to pay for their mortgage and they lost their house anyway. And there’s someone today who believed … you get the picture? God doesn’t always do miracles when we want Him to? Why? Because He’s God and He gets to choose.
See the statistics are that we live in a world where, the last time I checked, out of every 100 people – any 100 you’d care to choose – out of every 100 people – exactly 100 will die at some point. The body gets old, it wears out and it gives up. Either that or Jesus will return first. It’s just the way things are. I watched my dad die over 10 years ago, he was only 74.
A good friend of mine in Africa, his brother was killed by rebel fighters and his father was injured in the fighting and died because of the lack of medical care. Now this friend is a humble, powerful man of God. He believed for miracles.
We live in a world that rejected God and the result of that is that people suffer and people die. Look around, there are billions suffering in the world today. People who believe in Jesus and people who don’t. Jesus suffered. Jesus asked for the suffering to be taken away – but it wasn’t. But still, still I believe in miracles. Sometimes God steps in for no reason that’s particularly apparent to us and performs a miracle.
The first time I prayed for someone to be healed was a woman at church. She had bad knees, they were painful, I prayed. Now I didn’t really expect her to be healed and I kind of avoided her after that. Months later she told me that she had been healed.
I was shocked. Back then I thought it had something to do with me. And that – that’s the mistake that’s so easy to make. If I’m really, really, really, really good, God will give me a miracle. If I believe until I bust, if I clean up my act, if I do this or do that or say this or pray that … then, then I’ll get the miracle I’ve been hoping for. See, that completely and utterly misses the point.
Let me read you something, a letter that the apostle Paul wrote. This comes from Galatians chapter 3, beginning at verse 1. He writes:
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited and crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing? – if it really was for nothing.
Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by you doing the works of the law, or by your believing in what you heard?
Pretty simple isn’t it. If we think we can get miracles by working our way into God’s favour, by playing the game, ticking the boxes, getting it all right. Paul’s saying, “you foolish Galatians! Did you see miracles happen because you did the right thing or because you believed in what you’d heard?” See, doing the right thing and ticking the boxes doesn’t deliver miracles.
Now Gods not a sugar daddy. He’s not a slot machine. You don’t put the coin in, pull the handle, and watch the dials spin and see the cash fall out to the bottom. It’s not how it works. Not some formula that we apply and hey presto – out pops the rabbit from the hat!
If there was – then God would be reduced to a performing poodle who does tricks on our command. It’s not it at all. Somewhere deep inside God has a plan and sometimes that plan includes miracles, sometimes it doesn’t. But the thing that causes God to perform a miracle is not what we do but what we believe.
Faith, the faith to believe, come what may. Irrespective of the outcome – I’m gonna honour God and I’m going to obey Him and I’m going to love Him and I’m going to bow my life down to Him and I am going to believe in Jesus for a miracle.
Just believe – call me crazy. Call me simple. Call me whatever you like. I just believe. Like the three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They refused to bow down and worship an idol that King Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to worship. He threatened to throw them into a furnace and this is what they said:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defence to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up. (Daniel 3:16-18)
And they were thrown into the furnace and God did deliver them. But even if he hadn’t, they still weren’t going to bow down to any other god. Sometimes I’ve believed mightily for a miracle and God hasn’t done it. And I remember on a few occasions how painful and distressing that was. Like having my heart torn out – but God had something different planned.
Other times, just recently in fact, I’ve under-believed in God. I had low expectations and God has done such mighty miracles, opened doors for the Gospel that for years have been tightly shut to me. Moved the hearts of people that I’ve never even met to grant me favour.
And I’ve stood back in awe of what He’s done. Why? I don’t know, I’m like you, I’m just some little guy. I believe in Jesus, I worship Him, I do my best every day to honour Him. I fall flat on my face some days. And every now and then, He does something amazing – and you know what I’ve noticed? It’s invariably for His glory not mine. His name is lifted up and yep, it helps me sometimes, but that’s a side benefit really.
Do I believe in miracles? Absolutely! Do they always work out like I’ve planned – not on your nelly. It’s just the way it is.