I have been pondering miracles lately. If you have been reading this blog for a few months, you'll know that I believe in a supernatural God, one who does supernatural things. I love reading books such as "Like a Mighty Wind" and "Caught up in Paradise". They inspire me to believe God for amazing stuff. And you know, He has done it in front of my very eyes. As I look around at the people that I am in contact with, I see lots of needs. From finances to cancer, I know folks that need miracles.... or so it seems.
Here are some of the things that I have heard about miracles over the years. "If you have faith, you'll have miracles." "If you pray for potatoes, God will give you a hoe." Or, "coincidences are God's way of remaining anonymous." "We don't need miracles, we have science." And today's winner, "miracles ceased with the death of the last apostle." All of these statements are intended to illustrate a particular paradigm or worldview of God. As you can see, each one has its limitations.
As always, we want to clear up any misconceptions and understand our part, while leaving God His part in the process. First of all, God hasn't changed. He is still in the business of doing miracles and healings. I am also convinced that God is not trying to remain anonymous. I assure you that He wants credit for every sunrise, every healed cut and all the supernatural stuff that we didn't expect, or can't explain. Those are the easy answers.
The more difficult answers pertain to how to get a miracle. Before I go there, I want to take a moment to discuss the reasons that we may not get one. God's desire is to be in relationship with us. He wants us to know Him. There was once a prophecy floating around the Charismatic church stating that we wanted to see His hand move, be we didn't seek His face. I think that is certainly a factor. God is not in the business of dispensing miracles. They are often a byproduct of our relationship with Him. We'll call it the privilege of adoption. Membership definitely has its benefits! However; God is much more gracious then to only give gifts to those who know and love Him. He loves all of mankind in spite of their sin. He pursues each person for a relationship with Him. The start of that relationship may, just in fact, be a miracle. Yes, one spent on a dirty smelly faithless goat.
Is it true that God only does miracles for "good" people? Nope, you can't earn one.
Well, then what is it that can get God to move in a miraculous way? Here are the factors as I see them. Most of the people that I know that speak of miracles are baptized in the Holy Spirit. The miracles seem to follow those folks more then they do in other denominations. You can certainly be at odds over how one is "baptized in the Holy Spirit," but I assure you, these are the folks that are getting more consistent results. So you are spirit-filled. Then there are only three more criteria that seem to go along with God moving. The first is practical need. I meet lots of Christians that are in a fix, where the think they need a miracle. My question is this, how did you get there? Are you out of money? What did you spend it on? Are you working full time? There always seems to be a path to destruction. It might be a very level one, not necessarily a cliff. Do you really have a need, or did you create one? Real miracles come out of real need. It is doubtful that you'll walk on water if there is a boat or bridge.
Number two: It appears that the folks that experience the bonafide miracles are folks that have a deep relationship with God. I said experience, not receive. They may the vessel of the gift. They are the ones that not just read that Bible, but they live it. They may only get a few minutes a day, but they are in the word, not just reading it. I don't mean they are "good" folks, I mean they are dedicated folks. They are humble, teachable and open to God; they desire to know Him, not about Him.
They pray, but it is not a matter of the amount of words or time, but it is about the personal words they speak to the living God. The people that I know, that experience angels, miracles and other types of angelic activity look for it, wait for it and lastly, they expect it. Not only for themselves, but for others. Their lives are passionate for Him, and the blessings they witness are byproducts of putting Him first, not something that they deserve.
The last thing I believe that it takes for a miracle is faith. Someone has to believe and it's not always the receiver. However; where miracles are happening, they is usually a Christian not far from the scene, whether in prayer or there laying on hands.
There are a few facts about miracles you may want to be aware of. First, healing is not a miracle. In fact, within the church there should be lots of different types of healings, both physical and emotional as there are "gifts" of healing. There are curses that need to be broken and demons that need to be cast out. These supernatural events are the nature of the spiritual realm in relationship to the physical body. But miracles, they are a different sort of thing. They are walking on water, turning staffs into snakes, water into wine and things of that nature.