Okay, so you may have read the title of this blog and done a quick double-take. Let me assure you that I am pro-miracles. In fact, I have been on the receiving end of many miracles in my life, and I could not be more grateful for them! Miracles are real, still happen in today’s world just as they did in the Bible, and are a wonderful way of seeing God’s power in our finite lives.
I have also, however, been in a situation where it seems my request for a “miracle” (quotation implication explained later) was not answered, leaving me hurt, confused, and angry. I have always been of the school of thought that I must simply trust God, and that a miracle deferred is simply an opportunity to grow in another way or find God elsewhere. Miracles remained, in my estimation, the ultimate and most ideal of answers, though. Never did I ever really stop and think about any possible downsides to these miraculous acts.
Today, in my reading from Alicia Britt Chole’s Anonymous, I read this, and it gave me immediate pause:
Consider all that the Israelites had witnessed to date in Egypt and even in their desert wanderings. At Marah, they had seen bitter waters become sweet. In the Desert of Sin, they had dined on quail and seen manna fall from heaven. Their history, and our own experience, reveals that miraculous signs do not automatically create within us either contentment in our circumstances or confidence in God’s future provision.
The more I thought about it, the more it began to resonate with me. How many times did the Israelites see the most incredible of miracles (parting of the Red Sea, anyone?) only to seemingly forget that miracle’s assurance of God’s presence and provision in their lives mere moments later? When we receive such an outright miracle, there is temptation to give God audible praise immediately after, and then to forget, go on, and start hoping for the next miracle. And when we see the next trial with which we are hoping for a miracle, how often does temptation then come around and try to get us to second guess that what happened was really a miracle at all? It seems as if miracles are not guarantees of our strengthened or sustainable faith, even when the miracles are big ones.
What I do know, is that when your “miracle” comes through the journey of struggle, pain, and supposed unanswered prayers, you are left with very little room to ever doubt God’s reality again. Why? Because when you have to fight the fight for your faith, you don’t quickly forget the struggle, or the daily and very real ways in which God proved Himself to you through His presence and provision. It’s not that miracles are innately problematic, it’s that when it comes to remembering, we’re much more likely to keep a hold of something we had to struggle and work to see, rather than something that was simply handed to us.
If you feel like you missed your chance for a miracle, hold on. From my own experience, it seems that the much greater miracles are actually the ones in which we have a journey with God to get to the desired promise. Those times of journey, though painful and hard, are priceless moments with our Savior in which He can soothe us, speak to us, change us, and show Himself strong. He is strong when we are weak, and those are the moments of life that you tend to never forget.