The universe is expanding, but energy is running down. Humankind experiences cycles of advancement in knowledge, productivity, and longevity; but continually, cycles of selfishness, greed, and destruction diminish our limited planet. Man’s capacity to build and replenish is far too often outstripped by our tendency to tear down and subjugate. It takes a far greater faith to believe in a natural and growing goodness of humanity to establish justice in the earth than to hope for the supernatural intervention of an infinite God performing miracles in the affairs of humankind. The way I see it, we need a miracle!
When someone says they need a miracle, what they are really saying is they are looking for an extraordinary event in their physical circumstances, exceeding anything they know and going beyond the ordinary forces of nature, making it a supernatural work of God, at least for them. Needing a miracle is desiring a miracle. “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24) King James Version (KJV).
That a “miracle” is a “wonder” or a “sign,” is seen in the New Testament (NT) translating the Greek sēmeion, as “signs” in John 3:2. “No one could perform the signs You are doing if God were not with him” New International Version (NIV). Truly, a miracle requires the power and agency of God.
Creating the world out of nothing, crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, walking on water, or rising from the dead defy scientific explanation; and, they are properly classed as miracles, since they incorporate acts of God.
A true miracle will not contradict the clear declarations of the Word of God, such as, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 NIV). What’s more, any attempt to employ the miraculous power of God in pursuing a self-promoting, personal agenda would be devilish. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness to turn aside from His fast, which was preparing Him for the ministry to atone for the sins of the world. “The tempter came to Him and said, If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (4:3 NIV).
We must be willing to expect the miraculous, when the circumstances demand, and it supports the acts and works of God. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). But, we should never expect God to remove our necessity to do as we ought, when He commands us. “Obey Me, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 7:23 NIV).
Are we reluctant to raise our expectations of believing God for a miracle for fear of being disappointed? True, God sovereignly chooses when to perform a miracle, but He has given sufficient enticement from His Word to encourage us to believe, pray, and hope for a miracle. “Prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10 KJV).
What qualifies as a miracle? As noted before, any extraordinary, yet consistent with God, event or effect, which gets your attention is sufficient. For Moses, it was a burning bush that didn’t burn up. “So Moses thought, I will go over and see this strange sight — why the bush does not burn up” (Exodus 3:3 NIV).
God will perform the miraculous whenever it is needed to accomplish His purpose. “Jesus replied, Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done” (Matthew 21:21 NIV).
We may be surprised to find God more willing to work miracles than we are willing to believe Him. Though Jesus knows our heart, He experienced the emotion of amazement, when His neighbors in Nazareth refused to admit that His message, wisdom, and works demanded Him to be the Messiah. “He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:5-6 NIV).
Not sure where miracles begin and ordinary grace ends? We have been assured that everything happening to us is an expression of a holy God demonstrating His love by graciously giving His Son. “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NIV). So, miracle or not, it is all of grace, for even “where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20 NIV). We were never worthy of ordinary grace, neither are we deserving of a miracle.
And, ours is not to limit God by lowering our expectations of His ability to perform the miraculous, yet never blaming Him, if He deems the circumstances inappropriate for a miracle. “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3 KJV).
Let us do as we are able, while always looking forward to see what God will do, if not a miracle!