I turned over the calendar to a new month today, and stared at the calendar. This year is more than half over! Yes, I am “glass half full” kind of person (as opposed to seeing life “half empty”), so I can think of all the things that I have yet to experience this year. But the older I become, the faster time does pass me by – like a freight train gathering steam down a hill.
I have come to realize that, “Each day is a gift and everyday miracles are scattered about if only we have the eyes to see.” This says a lot in very few words. To the person with a terminal disease, every day is a gift. To the one with lung issues, every breath is a miracle. To a mom, the baby in her womb is a gift and a miracle. Can we see every 24-hour time period as a gracious gift and every moment of life as a miracle?
Just what is a miracle?
Perhaps miracles are the invasion of God into what may be considered the perceivable “natural” world. C.S. Lewis wrote, “By definition, miracles must of course interrupt the usual course of Nature. It is therefore inaccurate to define a miracle as something that breaks the laws of Nature. It doesn’t….We see every day that physical nature is not in the least incommoded [made uncomfortable] by the daily inrush of events from biological nature or from psychological nature…the divine art of miracles is not an art of suspending the pattern to which events conform but of feeding new events into that pattern.”
Biblical miracles have fascinated human beings since the beginning. Scripture tells us that miracles are actions and events which clearly demonstrate God’s power purposefully at work in the world in a way beyond the usual or expected. Belief in or doubt about miracles in the Bible can reveal our personal “theological perception” – what we think about God. Indeed, in the OT, the miracles of God reveal to us something about God; in the NT, miracles tell us something about Jesus.
As an example, the writer of Psalm 77 was perplexed by God’s seemingly inaction in the lives of his people. But….
“Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on your mighty deeds.’ Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph” (Ps 77:10-15: see Ps 105:5-7; 106:7-10, 21-22).
By remembering his miracles, his mighty acts, his “wonderful deeds,” and by recalling what God did for his people in the past, people of every age can look beyond their present situation and their faith is renewed. The Psalms are full of praise for God’s past deliverances and hope for his continuing blessings on his people. Thus, his miracles revealed his nature and character as a gracious God, and not as a capricious, uncaring, spiteful deity.
Today, I can think of gracious, saving, redemptive acts of God in my own life and in the lives of precious people around me. God’s miracles are unmerited gifts and blessings given to those people who are faithful to him. With praise and thanksgiving, those who love God acknowledge his power, his justice, his goodness and his righteousness.
Furthermore, the greatest miracle of all, of course, is the life, death and resurrection of the Son of God in the NT. Jesus was a miracle and he performed miracles during his time on earth. Yet, many people in the towns around the Sea of Galilee, “in which most of his miracles had been performed” refused to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus as the Messiah (Mt 11:20-24). The same is true of people today in spite of all the recorded miracles which Jesus performed. People were “amazed” at the work of Jesus, and yet he was “amazed” at their “lack of faith” (Mk 6:2-6). The mighty acts and redeeming work of Jesus were signs that the Messiah had come (Acts 2:22, 31-36).
It is interesting that the author of the Gospel of John refers to the miracles of Jesus as “signs.” This shifts the focus off of the curious wonder of the events to the true significance of his actions. His signs disclosed Jesus’ glory (Jn 1:14; 2:11; 5:41-44), and his divine authority over nature and human death. Jesus is the supplier of human needs (6:1-15), and the healer of human bodies and spirits (5:1-15; 9:1-12). His signs point to the complete salvation of humanity and the promised indwelling Spirit. In fact, Jesus’ signs “revealed” his close, special relationship with Father God. God revealed his plans and purposes to the Son, who obediently carried them out. The total unity of the Father and the Son is visible in the miraculous signs performed by them both (14:6-7, 9-12; 17:6, 26).
Every aspect of our lives is a miracle. Life is a miracle; love is a miracle. The universe is a miracle, and each tiny particle in it is miraculous. It is all too amazing for words. God is so cool…..
“In all these miracles alike the incarnate God [Jesus] does suddenly and locally something that [Father] God has done or will do in general. Each miracle writes for us in small letters something that God has already written, or will write, in letters almost too large to be noticed, across the canvas of nature” (C. S. Lewis). Amen.
2 thoughts on “Signs and Miracles”
A good blog Judy,
Thanks, Nancy!! 🙂