I began my review on the subject of miracles by looking in the concordance of the NIV Bible. I found two mentions of “miracles” or “miraculous” in the Old Testament and 14 listed in the New Testament. I was surprised at how few there were. Anyone who believes in our God and reads the Bible can think of countless miracles performed by God, Jesus or God-inspired believers. Upon further reflection, I realized that most miracles were not labeled as such by the observers such as, “Look, Jesus just raised that man from the dead. It is a miracle!”
Miracles were used as evidence/testimonials to the holiness and power of God and Jesus (Heb. 2:4, 1 Cor. 1:22, John 10:32), to encourage repentance (Matt. 11:20-21) and to make a logical statement of Jesus’ connection to God (John 3:1-2).
First Cor. 12:28 states that believers form the body of Christ in which God makes use of the individual talents, i.e. apostles, prophets, teachers, and miracle-workers. God used Paul as His conduit to perform extraordinary miracles in Ephesus (Acts 19:11) and warned against “false Christs and false prophets who will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect (Matt. 24: 24).
There are many extraordinary, incomprehensible miracles described in the Bible. The Old Testament opens with the story of creation, bringing the entire world from profound nothingness. We find descriptions of Noah and the ark and the great cleansing flood, the ups and down in the life of Joseph of the many colored coat, the miracles of the life of Moses including the parting of the Red Sea (providing an escape route from Pharaoh’s soldiers), the miracle of God’s protection of Daniel from the lions, and David’s slingshot prowess over Goliath.
The New Testament has many accounts of miracles performed by Jesus. He healed those with physical ailments ( blindness, deafness, speechlessness, paralysis, leprosy, severance of an ear), mental/emotional problems (demoniac possession, unclean spirit) and death itself. Jesus miraculously prevailed over nature by multiplying small amounts of food to feed many, walking on water, blighting the fig tree, and finding the temple tax in the mouth of a fish. Note: Googling “miracles of Jesus” lists 37 miracles with biblical references.
But all of these took place 1000s of years ago. What about now? Are there miracles taking place now? Are there “smaller miracles”?
Every month, Guideposts Magazine has a page entitled “His Mysterious Ways” that tells a story that could be considered a miracle. Three of the more recent ones involved a missed job opportunity that miraculously reopened with extra benefits (June), a deceased woman’s voice left in voice mail in a condolence call (July), and an RN’s strange compulsion to treat a young man for a heart attack instead of the diagnosed indigestion/hiatal hernia.
There have been many books written about miracles in today’s word including my favorite When God Winks, which tells of God engineering miracles through “coincidences.”
Ok, now, let’s put this on a personal level. Have you seen a miracle? It is certainly a miracle to awaken every morning to the sun or God’s beautiful nature and loving family/friends. Most would place falling in love, new babies, or grandbabies in the miracle category.
When I asked my grandsons if they had ever seen a miracle, the 12 year old immediately said, “Yes, a rainbow.” Then, upon reflection he named his two-year- old sister (forgetting to list his nine-year-old brother – too close in age and maybe too competitive!). The nine-year-old quickly agreed with the rainbow idea.
As an experiment in my Sunday School class last Sunday, I asked every member present to anonymously write one word or a short phrase to describe a miracle if, in fact, they had seen one. Answers mentioned miraculous healings (fatal brain injury, injury/illness twice while out of the country, serious illness), miraculous protection ( births, successful birth after earlier lost pregnancies, child escaped multiple cars when running into the road, clerical robe unscathed when all surroundings consumed by fire – from Linda Serino’s recent sermon) and miraculous uplifting (of troubled marriage, continued good fortune). One person answered “yes” with no specifics and only one person said no miracle seen.
Finally, because I attempt to walk daily and mindfully with God as my companion, I see miracles of all sizes everywhere. One of my most significant miracles occurred two days after the death of my husband when, in a roomful of people in my house, I felt myself recede from the crowd and embraced by strong arms from behind me. There was actually no one behind my chair, but in my dazed grief the comfort was enormous and came with a certainty that I would not walk my path alone.
Several times I have felt a compulsion to deviate from my plans for the day and, by going off course, have been led into an unexpected area of service or renewal. I have many times prayed for miracles ranging from asking God to supply me with words I needed to say to helping find my lost keys.
Our God is a God for whom miracles are common place. It is my opinion that it is only by developing awareness and by being open to seeing and identifying the miracles God puts in our way that we can enjoy God’s miracles large and small. We feel loved and cared for by being the recipient of God’s acts of love which very well might be in the form of a miracle.