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?