A “miracle” is “an event not attributable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently may be attributed to a supernatural or divine agency.”
To know God — that is, to know Him personally, experientially — is to experience a miracle.
That is, to experience a Being who is beyond the scope of human sensory capabilities and unobservable by any scientific means is (by definition) a miracle.
If you, personally, have had any experience of such a Being, your life is already imbued with the miraculous — whether or not you sense His Being, His Presence, continuously or only have a memory of such an experience.
If this is true of you, the question, “Is there a God of miracles?” is not debatable. It’s already a part of your existential “fabric”… that woven web of neuro-chemically based thought-processes in your brain you call your “self”. To deny the experience of “God” would be to deny that physically based record in your own cerebral matter — it would be to deny your own “self”.
“Is there a God of miracles?” can lead to another question. Knowing “Him” is a miracle — the mere reality of His having “revealed” Himself in a sensible fashion is miraculous… but can He (will He) bring any additional “miracles” into your life-experience? Can you expect more miracles than simply knowing Him?
Actually, key to this question is another: Will God produce a miracle according to my own desires or “prayers”? Can I expect to “approach God” in my inner person (in my spirit?) and require a miracle from Him? “Dear God: my son lies in a hospital bed right now after a horrific motorcycle accident… Please, have mercy on him and me, and heal him, miraculously…”
There’s no question about whether this would be a serious request; no one would ridicule a mom or dad for the heartfelt desire of seeing their child’s health restored… At least, no one unless they were pretty heartless themselves, more concerned with contrary theologies [“God doesn’t heal today”] or discompassionate philosophies [“Forget it — you’re fooling yourself since God doesn’t even exist…”]
But, sincere and heartfelt as is this request — can we expect God to produce a miracle according to our own desires or “prayers”? Can we order up a miracle — and SuperSize it if needed?
Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus instructed His disciples on prayer. They’d felt slighted by their Master, Jesus, after seeing the disciples of John the Baptist (who were not followers of Jesus), being taught to pray — and they wanted the same from Jesus. So Jesus gave them a prayer — today called, “The Our Father…”
This “model prayer” gives a clear message to those who “want a miracle from God”. It begins by focusing on God, not the one who’s praying. It doesn’t start, “Be merciful to me — a sinner — Oh God…” It starts, “Our Father, Who art in heaven, we revere Your Name” but before the “requests” (for daily bread, deliverance, etc.) comes a declaration: “Thy Kingdom come…”
“Rule over us, God; establish YOUR Kingdom in our lives and in this world!” Then, “Let YOUR will be done…”
Back to the earlier example: “Oh God — You see our son lying here dying from his recent accident; we both want You to heal him, miraculously… but You’re the One in charge here; You’re the King over our lives — and so (knowing YOU know and CARE about the torment in which we find ourselves), we ask that YOUR will be done here in this hospital room… We know of others You’ve healed, but only You know what is best for us and our son right now… We’re completely at peace with You, Oh God, and with Your choice…”
Have you heard that old country song thanking God for not answering some poor sap’s prayer the way he wanted it?
“Unanswered Prayers” (by Garth Brooks)
Just the other night a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldn’t help but think of the way things used to be
She was the one that I’d wanted for all times
And each night I’d spend prayin’ that God would make her mine
And if he’d only grant me this wish I wished back then
I’d never ask for anything again
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers…
If someone’s asking, “Is there a God of miracles?”, the answer’s already there for anyone who’s already met God and knows Him experientially — but that doesn’t turn Him into a short-order cook. Some people I know teach that God has inviolate principles that even He can’t ignore — and if you memorize the right verses, speak the right prayers, go to the right “Healing Service” or even (God damn the hypocrites) send a financial offering to the right preacher (“… of $25 or more — and remember, the size of your gift shows the size of your faith and that determines the size of your miracle that God’ll send your way!”) — if you figure out what the hell is the “right” formula to follow, God will give you the miracle you’re asking for.
Well — if THAT’S what a person is asking when they ask if God “is a miracle working God today”, the answer is, NO.
Knowing God experientially, personally — despite the physical and scientific impossibility of knowing That Which is Unknowable — this is miraculous. But God — as the God Who performs “what is impossible for man” but is “possible for God” — does so according to His wisdom and foreknowledge of what is truly the desire of a person’s heart.
Those ridiculous shows about the “Undead” sometimes include a great moral — especially the ones in which someone loses a loved one and begs “God” to send him back — and “God” does, but sends him back as a rotting, decaying corpse… (oops! I guess I needed to be a little more explicit with the miracle I was ordering up from God…)
God, I desperately need a miracle… Let Your will be done and meanwhile, I’ll be at peace knowing that You’re not ignoring me in my time of trouble or crisis, and anything that needs to be done for Your care over me — anything that’s obviously miraculous or not so obviously miraculous — I know You’re going to take me through this time of troubles and I’ll wind up overcoming them instead of being overcome by them.
“Why do I know this, God? Because I know You… and this is the kind of Father You are — to me, and to all who confidently, patiently trust in what You will do.
O.K. ‘Nuff said about all that stuff. So, have I ever experienced a miracle? You know — “an event not attributable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently may be attributed to a supernatural or divine agency”?
Answer: Yes. And an entire congregation of about 85 people experienced it with me. Back in 1992 or so, my late wife, Janet, had been suffering already for over six years with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. One of the disease’s symptoms were tumors growing in the lymph glands — many of them visible through the skin. The four tumorous lumps on the left side of Janet’s neck were starkly visible to anyone who looked at her and had been for over four years. Her collar didn’t hide them and she never wore a scarf. Every Sunday morning she stood up front of the congregation, part of the worship team, and sang — the neck tumors clearly visible to everyone.
One Sunday, a little girl of about 8 years old and sitting in the congregation, raised her hand, wanting to go up front and pray for Janet. The worship leader stopped his “program”, encouraging not only that one little girl but all the other young children “whoever wanted to”, to come on up front and pray for Janet.
The little children circled Janet, touching her and all of them quietly praying — and after three to four minutes, they all went back to their seats and that was the end of that. Except that the next morning, when Janet looked in the mirror, she saw that the three smaller tumors — each about the size of an English walnut — were gone. Only the largest (about the size of a golf ball) still remained. She showed her neck to me, confounded at the change. Now, understand — these tumors were solid flesh, not swellings which could have disappeared overnight. She’d had them on her neck for years, they were solid flesh, and they were gone overnight — and by the next Sunday morning, the largest one was gone as well. Their disappearance overnight wasn’t scientifically possible. Previously, she’d already had numerous tumors like these surgically removed, but this disappearance was not explainable by science.
She stood up front, before the worship session started, and without saying anything, simply leaned her head to the right, exposing the slender shape of the left side of her neck, with all four tumors gone — and the congregation exploded into shouts and cheers and even tears of those who loved her so much…
Two years later, she died of her Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Don’t you think I wondered why God proved by demonstration His ability to remove her tumors miraculously — and yet He didn’t completely heal her? I still wonder — but at the same time, now, some twenty years later, though I can remember that terrible time, I look around at the utterly fantastic life I now have — increased family, precious wife, and more — and realize that much of what is so precious now would never have come about had Janet lived.
Was it a “good” or “bad” thing she passed away? Considering that — when she died — she “went to be with the Lord”, it’s hard to call that a “bad thing”… And God only knows what she might have experienced in this troubled world had she not left it when she did.
Ultimately, there is a “God of Miracles”, and I know Him well… And I trust Him. He knows what I need (and I sure don’t need Him to walk across my swimming pool to somehow satisfy some insecure, disbelieving need for me to have “proof”…!!!) He knows what I need and what I desire; the miracle of my life is not that I can order Him to perform a miracle, but that every day with Him is filled with miracles…
And my only real “task” is to not miss seeing them as He pours them out abundantly for my care and blessing.