The Truth about Miracles

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

I like miracles. Who doesn’t? The accounts in the Bible are powerful and alluring. God parting the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape the Egyptians (Exodus 14). Jesus feeding five thousand people with just five barley loaves and two small fish (John 6).  Daniel surviving in the lion’s den (Daniel 6).  We are taught that with the power of God, the impossible becomes possible.

So why serve a God that has the ability to move the mountains, and yet at times chooses not to do so? God’s will is tricky in that we only have a small piece of a much larger equation. If we hold on to what could have been, instead of focusing on what is to be, we miss out on the waters being parted. With our backs to the sea, we become like the Israelites, lost in the frustration of our own emotions instead of finding peace in the wisdom of God’s will.  Facing the journey means we can’t miracle wish it away. It also means we have to accept that we are incapable of always understanding God.  His ways just aren’t our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

The Internal vs. External Miracle

When God leaves a mountain in our way, He’s asking us to climb in less than ideal conditions.  I have wasted much time sitting on those mountains, begging and pleading for God to just do something. It’s in the moments when I quiet my soul that He tells me He already has.  He’s given me divine strength, comfort, and courage.  It’s up to me to take hold of them as provisions for my journey.  That’s the reality we are faced with when we pray for miracles.  His answer isn’t always external.

To have the mountain moved doesn’t always mean God is going to be the one to do it.  The impossible becoming possible can happen right inside of our hearts.  When God told King Solomon He would give Him anything, Solomon prayed for wisdom (II Chronicles 1).  Solomon wasn’t just thinking of himself in that moment, He wanted God to provide a miracle that would be beneficial for those he led. True to His word, God gifted Solomon with an unparalleled level of discernment … that night, God showed us what it meant to provide the internal miracle.

Accepting God’s will relies on us believing in the internal miracle.  We have to trust that God is not only capable of carrying us over the storm, but He will help us to navigate through it too.  What’s most important isn’t whether He says yes or no to our miracles, it’s the effort we place into having God abide in our hearts and minds on a continual basis. That is what allows us to climb, move, destroy, or wait on that mountain. If we don’t stay close to God, when He does say yes to our miracle requests, they are just moments in time, and we are left to suffer the same tragic outlook as Jonah.

The Story of Jonah

After fleeing from God’s command to preach to the people of Nineveh, Jonah wound up in the sea, having his life saved when God sent a big fish to swallow him.  Jonah expressed remorse and was spat out onto dry land. He then answered God’s call and preached to the people of Nineveh.  Jonah eagerly waited to see what would happen to those dwelling there, and was bitter when God saved the city.

From the beginning, the book of Jonah tells us the prophet didn’t want the city saved.  No miracle was going to change what Jonah was not ready to let go of in his heart.  Although he graciously accepted God saving his own life when he disobeyed, Jonah was not okay with God extending His mercy to the Ninevites. What’s even sadder is that there is no redeeming ending to the book of Jonah.  We are left with God questioning Jonah’s rationale as Jonah sits in anger…and that’s not lost on me.  Our endings are determined by our decisions, and unfortunately, they don’t always end well.

Therein lies the truth about miracles. 

When God says yes, it isn’t enough to save us, and when God says no, it shouldn’t be enough to break us.  Miracles bear witness to God’s power, but they don’t fix our characters. No matter how many times we tell God, if You could just fix this one thing, there will always be a next thing…and a next thing.  What matters the most is our relationship with God, and if we aren’t working on that, it won’t matter what God does for us because He isn’t dwelling inside of us. And how can we recognize who we don’t know…the truth is…we can’t. Instead, we will just be left waiting.

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