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Better than a Miracle

Seems to me that we can be thankful that God’s ability to care for us is not limited to obvious suspensions of natural law. Your responses to my post on “Miracles” shows something better than “first century” expressions of supernatural power. The fact that none of us have seen anyone feed 5000 people with a little boys lunch, walk on water, raise the dead, or instantaneously heal a withered leg is probably better for our faith than we think.

Jesus suspended the laws of nature to show us who he was, not to create a norm for how he answers our prayers and cares for us. Throughout the history of the Bible, visible miraculous interventions are the exception. Instead, God’s supernatural provision– from behind the curtain of normal circumstance– is the rule.

When it comes to an understanding of how God provides for us, Paul is an interesting case study. For the earlier part of his public life, he had access to real miracles to endorse his message. At some later time, however, the apostle found himself pleading with God to remove an unidentified “thorn in the flesh.” Instead of getting what he asked for, he heard God say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2Cor 12:9).

From God’s point of view, Paul got something better than a “miracle.” His experience, in turn, gives the rest of us something we can relate to. For instance, I’ve never seen “manna” supernaturally show up on the table. But, on countless occasions I have been able to thank God for providing my “daily bread”. I’ve never walked on water, but on many occasions I’m quite sure that I have walked with God on the stormy waters of circumstance. I’ve never seen someone rise from the dead, but I have seen “dead men” come alive through faith in Christ. I’ve never seen water turned to wine, but I’ve seen Christ take what I’ve given him and turn it into something far better.

So whether our struggle is with health, unemployment, broken relationships, or economic stress, we don’t need to assume that there is some unknown defect in our faith when those who try to exploit our need don’t deliver the miracle they promised. If God doesn’t answer our prayer as we want him to, we can be pretty sure that he wants to use our need– to show us his daily, supernatural, ability to guide us– and to provide for us–with grace that is better than a miracle!

OK, let’s talk. Do you buy it? Can you see how God’s grace could be, from his point of view, better than giving us the miracle we’re asking for? What about from our point of view? Or do you think I’m stretching a point?

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11 Responses to “Better than a Miracle”

  1. percy172 says:

    Mart, you are absolutely right, it is far more beneficial to receive God’s grace to face each day than receive a miracle without His geace. Only when God’s grace was there the five loves and two fish was a blessing to the 5000 and more people. God knows the end from the begining therefore He knows what I need and provides and not what I want. Miracle are some time required to bring someone to trust in the living God but it is not, be all and end all. God telling Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” is in itself a miracle, because the God of all creation and the saviour Himself is saying that. We need to believe and have faith in Him to take us thru whatever the circumstances. He who has called us is faithful and deserves our faith.

    Thanks Mart, you have been dealing with topics that have been hotly debated these days even in India. I always held the view that so called preachers calling people to come and be healed in their meetings are givning importance to healing than Christ. Knowing Christ and accepting what He has done for me is more important than anything else. My dad, a man of God, used to encourage me by saying, be happy that some how the name of Christ is heard by people because of such preachers. You just pray for them is what he advised me.

  2. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    We have been studying The Holiness of God, by RC Sproul,
    Grace in itself is a miracle, many believe they deserve God’s Grace, but if we believe we deserve God’s grace, it is no longer Grace, Mercy falls in the catagory of a miracle i believe, each one of us deserves Justice, but God shows mercy on each one He desires to show Mercy, thereby i know God has bestowed many miracles on me throughout my life, i thank God that He has given me Grace to see His mercy, and except His Grace that in no way i deserve. i know i will not be able to understand God’s wonderful Grace, nor why many times He shows Mercy, but i can except both as being a Miracle for me to enjoy, and know God loves me because of these great and wonderful undeserved miracles as gifts He has so
    freely given me.

  3. Mart De Haan says:

    It has helped me too to see that “grace” involves not only the undeserved forgiveness of God, but also the undeserved favor of his presence and power. Strong’s Concordance says that grace includes, “the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” That’s a bit formal, but it shows us that when our Lord says, “My grace is sufficient”, he is really saying, “I” am sufficient in the kindness and strength I can be to you.

  4. brownsfan1642 says:

    Absolutely. Often we limit our appreciation of grace to the grace that saves us (Eph 2), but God’s moment-by-moment sustaining grace is the only way that we can survive- let alone thrive- in a difficult and destructive world.

  5. muzicbox9 says:

    I believe that, looking over the past 7 years of my life, God has slowly been working an overall miracle.

    I was in a rough patch 7 years ago – my life not really heading in any real direction, my faith on the backburner. Then my Aunt pointed me to the following verse, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall set your paths straight’. Proverbs 3:5-6.

    I took this to heart and prayed over it every morning walking into work. I aksed God to create a path from me towards Him and His will and to give me the strength, wisdom and courage to stay on that path.

    Looking back over the time from when I started saying this prayer … it’s miraculous what’s happened and the opportunities I’ve been given. My failing marriage was not only salvaged but has become a haven of much peace and love. I have been able to pay my way out of debt. I have been able to obtain my degree. I am going to give birth to my first born in April. I have become a more peaceful wife and friend. A complete 180.

    Now, that takes a miracle – something stirring inside you – that you let in from outside – guiding and directing you thus changing you, your life and your life’s course. I know I wouldn’t have done it on my own … although I was able, through the strength I prayed for, to put in a lot of the hard work for it.

    I don’t need to see great miracles happen in my lifetime. I probably wouldn’t believe them if I saw them anyway – or it would take some convincing before I believed a). that they were miracles and not a trick and b) before I attributed them to God.

    In the same breath, I don’t find it hard to believe the miracles that God performed in the Bible. He’s God right? He can do whatever He wants – so who are we to doubt what He says He has done?

    And why is it so hard for people to believe that God can perform miracles like parting the Red Sea, instructing Noah with his ark and ultimately bringing His Son back from the dead? If he’s the author of the laws of the universe than surely he can break these laws in order to perform miracles through a whole new set of laws that finite man cannot understand. Seems simple to me.

    I still think that miracles happen through God in this world too … but that we might not always be around to see them … or are sceptical when we are told about them. We live in a scientific age afterall and become inevitably tainted by materialistic explanations. If you go to some areas of the world where science hasn’t completely put out the fire of God’s imagination in men’s hearts, then I think you will probably find more miracles at work there.

    Anyway … those are just some of my thoughts on the subject.

  6. hal.fshr says:

    Very eloquent ideas on Christ at work behind the scenes. 2 Cor 12:9 sure does underscore the fact that even the apostle Paul did not always get a “yes” answer when praying for a miracle. Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. estuardo says:

    I remember reading sometime ago, something Philip Yancy had written regarding the supernatural ability of God. This isn’t a direct quote, but his premise was that all things to God are ‘Natural’, and we at one time, before the fall lived in that state. After the fall, we view anything God does us as ‘Supernatural’. His point was to look at it differently and see where we live now, in the fallen world as ‘Sub-natural’, meaning this isn’t where we’re supposed to be, but in the ‘Natural’ state of what we call supernatural. The miracles we experience would, and should be as natural to us as breathing air, but that was lost in the fall. Now, I see miracles as ‘windows’, or ‘doors’, to what God has intended for us to experience without the sin destroying it. My apologizes to Philip Yancy for not expressing this as clearly as he did. I hope it’s as clear as mud.

  8. Mart De Haan says:

    I think that is pretty articulate and insightful! Thanks.

  9. William Tan says:

    You are absolutely right.
    Throughout the history of the Bible, The Books of Old Testament and The Books of the New Testament recorded many miracles from God
    The Book of Luke recorded
    Jesus Heals Many, The Man with Leprosy, Jesus Heals a Paralytic, Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son, The Healing of a Demon-possessed Man,A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman, Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand, The Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit.
    Have Faith in God, Have Faith in Lord Jesus Christ and Have Faith in the Holy Spirit.
    Experiencing God’s Hand of Blessing and Touching
    The Book Of Psalms
    Praise the Lord and Thank God
    Pray without ceasing.
    Experience God’s blessing daily.

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