June 8, 1993
Two people ran into the back of a truck and walked away from the accident. They said it was a miracle they were not killed.
A doctor delivers a baby and the parents marvel at the miracle of childbirth and new life.
A student passes a tough exam and claims it is a miracle because he didn’t have time to study.
What about miracles? I heard someone say, “We don’t have any today because God’s people no longer believe in them.” So are the above examples really miracles? If not, what is a genuine miracle? And do they still happen?
Some reserve “miracle” for events contrary to the laws of nature such as described in the Bible, not merely to explain an exciting or extraordinary experience. Biblical miracles definitely contradicted the ordinary way nature works.
But how can we define “ordinary?” If God is responsible for nature and its laws, isn’t it possible that He can cause things beyond what we expect and still remain in harmony with His own laws?
In that case, a better definition of a miracle is an event that defies what we know about nature. This suggests the boundaries we give natural law actually may not exist!
For instance, Moses turned the Nile into a river of blood. God told him to do it so the Egyptians would realize He was superior to their gods. Even with modern pollution as bad as it is, turning a river into blood is contrary to what we know. It’s an event we cannot explain.
Christ also did unexplainable things. He healed diseases with a word, gave sight to the blind with a touch, walked on water and ordered storms to cease. In a day of many false prophets and false christs, Jesus demonstrated He controls the laws of nature. By that, He confirmed that He is indeed the Son of God (Acts 2:22).
The Lord also used miracles to authenticate true Christians. Acts 19:11 says “God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul....”
At the time Paul did these supernatural things, the New Testament had not yet been written so people had no way to confirm who spoke for God and who was a false teacher. Hebrews 2:4 explains that God used miracles to prove that Paul and the other Apostles definitely spoke on His behalf.
During the various eras when miracles occurred, Bible lands were populated both by people who believed in God and those who didn’t. Strangely enough, miracles seldom produced believers. Nor did they seem to happen because of someone’s faith. Rather, miracles had more to do with the purposes God had for them.
Sometimes God wanted to authenticate His prophets or demonstrate that His power was greater than any other, so He used a miracle. In other words, if God has a purpose for miracles, He produces them; no one made them happen by their “faith.”
Today, when a person calls anything that gives them a sense of wonder a miracle, they are trivializing the word, much like we have done with great words like “love” or “awesome.” However, there is nothing wrong with getting excited over unexpected good things.
Better yet, we ought to turn that excitement into praise and genuinely thank God that He is not limited by His own laws of nature or our expectations.