Whether a Christian or not, anyone who has engaged in even a cursory reading of the Bible observes the number of miracles recorded in its pages. Encountering these stories the reader is afforded, it seems to me, three basic responses: belief, disbelief, or disappointment. The first & last of these responses I take to be uniquely Christian. By belief I mean that the reader trusts that a miracle–something that defies natural laws– actually occurred. By disappointment I mean that the reader, believing that such miracles happened, experiences some lack of satisfaction or unfulfilled hope when he concludes that similar occurrences have not happened to/for him.
Almost 10 years ago I was struck with anxiety while attempting to navigate a major life transition. I pleaded with God to heal me. God has graciously granted a measure of restoration but all indications point to the fact that, in my case, the disorder is here to stay. I believe God was (and is) able to remove my illness as He did for others in biblical accounts but I was disappointed to find no complete, miraculous healing.
I look at the Williams family. Jeremy & Jennifer (along with countless others) have prayed for miraculous healing. Jeremy is suffering the debilitating effects of ALS. Jennifer was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Before ALS & breast cancer, their son Jacob was born with spina bifida. In each case, countless petitions failed to procure a miraculous healing. Jacob is in a wheelchair. Jeremy’s ALS progresses. Jennifer underwent a double mastectomy with chemo to follow.
Of course, the miraculous need not be limited to acts of healing. A miraculous provision in a time of need would be welcomed as would a divine sign when standing at one of life’s crossroads. We could point to broken homes which were in desperate need of a miracle that never came or the sometimes maddening normalcy in a local church that could be remedied by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. The point is that any honest Christian can point to a time in which he asked God to do the (humanly) impossible but eventually realized that natural law was to carry the day.
I don’t doubt that miracles still happen. However, I think I’m like a majority(?) of Christians who deal with more disappointment than delight when it comes to the realm of the miraculous. So where are the miracles? Or maybe more accurately: why aren’t the miracles coming my way?