Do Miracles Still Happen Today?
“A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself.” – Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology
According to 2010 report from Pew Research Center, nearly 80% of Americans believe in miracles. I believe this is because it’s what they’ve observed- either directly or because they’ve heard about miracles from people they trust. I know this is true for me. I can’t deny what I’ve seen and experienced.
I will never forget a miracle that happened in my life. It involved a bike crash. As a thirteen-year-old kid, alone on the side of a deserted highway, far from any town and badly injured, I told God I didn’t want to be alone. In that moment, the most terrifying thought, to me, had nothing to do with my injuries, but the fact that I was alone. I prayed to God and asked for help. Seconds later, I had company. A man came, offered me a drink, and sat with me while I waited for help to arrive. His presence brought me an overwhelming peace that I can’t fully explain. When help arrived, he was gone. Nobody, except me, saw him. An angel? I’m can’t say for sure, but I know he was sent by God…a miracle.
I’ve seen countless answered prayers in my life and I’ve known God’s presence and seen his hand at work in many situations- but that bike crash story has always stood out to me as something above and beyond the ordinary. Using Wayne Grudem’s definition of a miracle, I think the bike crash story fits.
God didn’t have to send anyone to sit with me that day, but he did. My faith grew because of what I saw and experienced through that miracle.
“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will.” - Hebrews 2:3-4
Miracles are signs, wonders, and mighty works that cause people to acknowledge God’s power at work.
We must be careful not to water miracles down to every answer to prayer and careful not to exaggerate, but at the same time, we don’t want to make the mistake of failing to thank God and glorify him for what he has done.
There are many examples of miracles in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. A few examples would be the parting of the Red Sea, the fire sent from heaven, Elijah’s prayer for the widow’s dead son (and his return to life), Jesus feeding the 5,000, countless healings, walking on water, and, of course, the Resurrection (just to name a few). The Bible’s pages are filled with stories of God’s miraculous deeds.
The Purpose of Miracles
1. Authenticate the message of the gospel. Nicodemus to Jesus: (John 3:2) “ We know you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
2. Bear witness to the fact that the kingdom of God has come (Luke 4:18)
3. Help those who are in need (Matt. 20:30, 34)
4. Remove hindrances to people’s ministries (Matt 8:15)
5. Bring glory to God (John 9:3)
There are some people who believe the working of miracles ceased when the apostles and their close associates died. They’re called, cessationists.
There certainly was a high concentration of miraculous power in the ministry of the apostles but this isn’t reason to believe that miracles can’t happen today. The apostles were examples who set a pattern, which the church is meant to imitate.
Can We Still Seek Miracles Today?
The answer depends on the purpose for which miracles are sought.
A few wrong reasons would be: to advance one’s own power or fame (Simon the magician) entertainment (Herod), and skeptics looking for ground to criticize those who preach the gospel (Pharisees and Sadducees)
When we seek a miracle to confirm the truthfulness of the gospel message, to bring help to those in need, to remove hindrances to people’s ministries, and to bring glory to God, these motives are consistent with what the Scriptures have shown as right.
When the miracle doesn’t come…God’s providence
“We need to have faith in what the Bible says, but we have to be careful that we aren’t trying to force God to do what we want. That is arrogance rather than humility. God loves us, but we cannot demand things of him as though our faith is in charge rather than God.
If someone believes it is our faith that heals us and forgets that it is God who does it, we should ask that person how much faith Lazarus had.” –Eric Metaxas, Miracles
A Few More Quotes to Ponder:
God is at work in this world. Always. Sometimes he chooses to reveal himself in a way that does nothing less than inspire awe and wonder in the people who witness these things. These acts bring glory to God and are less common, which is precisely why they inspire awe and wonder. They are miracles. And miracles still happen today.
We can’t demand miracles. Today’s topic assumes an understanding of God’s providence, which was explored last week in Melanie’s writing for the #delightindoctrine series, titled, What is the Providence of God? If you missed that one, I encourage you to check it out.
Father God, we place our trust in you. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. We thank you for miracles, both big and small, and we acknowledge your power at work in our lives. All glory belongs to you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Join us as we take a clear and practical look at some of the most basic and essential tenants of the Christian life – the doctrines of the faith.
Each week, we will highlight and explain a core doctrine. Then, we will pose the question, “Why does this matter to you and me?”
You can catch all of this year’s “Delight in Doctrine” posts by clicking HERE.
For the purposes of the study, our main texts will be first, the Bible, of course, and Wayne Grudem’s classic, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
It is our prayer that by the end of 2017, we will all find more delight in understanding what we believe and why we believe it.
“…And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)
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Linking up with Deb Wolf at #faithandfriends (Friday), #GraceandTruth (Friday), Holly Gerth at #coffeeforyourheart (Wednesday),Sherry at #homesweethome (Thursday), Susanne Eller at #livefreeThursday, Kelly at #RaRalinkup (Tuesday), and Lori at #Momentsofhope (Monday)