Monday, July 5, 2010

Do You Believe in Miracles? I Don't!

Twice a month, my church goes street evangelizing on a Friday night. This past Friday, I got into an interesting conversation with a 13-year-old girl named Amanda. Amanda told me, "I don't believe God does miracles. I believe you make your own miracles happen." I challenged her on this. I asked her if she could change a person's heart, or if she could cure someone's cancer. She agreed that she couldn't, but added that her lack of ability didn't automatically point to God's ability. "I've never seen a miracle that I couldn't explain somehow through other means. I would have to see one to believe it. And so I just don't believe that God does miracles." At this point, I replied, "Well that's something you and I have in common, Amanda. Because I don't believe God does miracles either!"

Amanda seemed shocked that I would say that. After all, if I am going to approach her on a Friday night and tell her and her friends about God, why would I want to proclaim a God who doesn't do miracles? "Well it's very simple, Amanda," I explained. "God has already shown me many times that He does miracles. I just don't believe it."

It's true. I am no different than Amanda. I have been a Christian now for 17 years, yet I still don't believe. Like Amanda, I say, "I'll believe it when I see it." But even now in my life, I am seeing miracles happen before my very eyes, and I just don't believe that God is at work. For example, I have been praying for 17 years that my Dad would get saved. About two months ago, my father developed an avid interest in the Bible (where there was none before). He has been asking me for so many resources, I cannot keep up with him. The other day, I found my father in his bedroom, listening to R.C. Sproul sermons!

There is no other explanation for this, other than the fact that God is doing a miracle in my father's heart. But do I see it that way? No. The thought crosses my mind of course, that maybe God is actually drawing my father. And then I brush it off and think, "Nahhh. He's just bored and has nothing else to do but check out the Bible," or, "There are plenty of people who have a philosophical interest in the Bible, and my dad is probably just one of them. But that doesn't make them Christians." On occasion, I have even gone as far as to think that this interest in the Bible is as far as it will go, and that my dad will never actually be born again.

I was able to explain to Amanda that the real reason she does not believe in God's miracles is because it is our human nature to not believe. Amanda doesn't believe that God can grow an amputee's legs or raise a dead person to life. I don't believe that God can save my parents, send me a husband, heal my sicknesses, or fix my finances. So what makes me so different from Amanda?

I told Amanda the story about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Remember what happened when the rich man asked Abraham to send Moses and the prophets to his relatives, so that they would believe?

[27] And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— [28] for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ [29] But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ [30] And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ [31] He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:26-31 ESV)

"Amanda," I said. "I am like you. I arrogantly say, I will believe it when I see it. Well I am seeing it every day! My dad is growing in his knowledge of the Bible, but even though I am seeing it, everyday, with my own two eyes, I still have unbelief." Belief is an evidence of grace in our lives. The fact that we believe on Christ for our salvation is an act of grace on God's part. Does that end once we become Christians? Of course not. God continues to give us the grace we need to trust Him at His word. Naturally, this does not mean that we should believe that God will give us everything for which we ask, but we can believe that He still does miracles!

Is there something you are not trusting God for? If so, the reason is simple: you're just like me and Amanda. If God raised Jesus from the dead, and then chose for you to become one of His daughters, why can't you believe that He will also give you a child, save your husband, mend your relationship with your in-laws, or provide for your basic needs? Could it be that you don't believe in miracles either?

3 comments:

Tom Gabbard said...

Oh, how longsuffering He is toward us, who are of such little faith!!
I am so thankful that we have a Great High Priest who ever lives to intercede for us!

Jennifer said...

I just thought I would add a comment and tell you about a miracle that did happen shortly after I wrote this: my father was in fact born again. I do not know the day, but I would say it was probably a week after publishing this post. I haven't been online much because I've been spending time discipling him a bit and getting him introduced to people at church, etc.

Part of me STILL does not believe this is happening!!!!

Tom Gabbard said...

Jennifer,

What wonderful news! Thanks be to our gracious God for the miracle of salvation! I pray that you are enabled to minister effectivly to your Father and that he continues to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus!