When I first became a Christian, I read C. S. Lewis’s books ‘Mere Christianity’ and ‘Miracles’. In the latter, Lewis argues that before one can learn from the study of history whether or not any miracles have ever occurred, one must first settle the philosophical question of whether it is logically possible that miracles can occur in principle. He accuses modern historians and scientific thinkers, particularly secular Bible scholars, of begging the question against miracles, insisting that modern disbelief in miracles is a cultural bias thrust upon the historical record and is not derivable from it. I never had any trouble believing that miracles were possible, so it was relatively easy for me to believe that the miracles I read about in the Bible had actually happened. However, it was not quite so easy to believe that miracles still happened or that they could actually happen to me. Logically I knew there was no difference (same God, after all!), but it all seemed a little too surreal for me to expect.
A miracle is an event not ascribable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently attributed to a supernatural, especially divine, agency. Over the years, I have come to think I possibly placed too much emphasis on miracles in those early years, expecting God to perform them almost like a magician performing endless tricks at a show. Nonetheless, I do still believe in miracles and that they happen. I only have to come to the building on Market Street each week to see a miracle in action. How could a church with £7000 in the bank buy a building costing over £150,000? Only through the miraculous workings of God!
In my own life, too, I have seen God do things that just weren’t possible for me to do. I’ve seen Him make money stretch beyond the normal expectations of financial economics (rather like the widow’s jug of oil in 2 Kings 4:1-7 TNIV.) I’ve seen Him provide jobs in the most bizarre ways. In fact, every job I’ve ever had (four to date) has come about in ways that definitely defy human reasoning! I’ve seen Him heal people. I’ve seen so much of His miraculous power flowing from His heart of love.
Yet still I struggle to believe. I don’t find it easy to expect God to do the unexpected. I am trained in rational, Western living and can come up with countless theological reasons why God doesn’t do as many miracles as He used to! I do believe He’s there in the ordinary as well as in the extraordinary. But I know that there are times when He works in ways beyond my understanding and I’m grateful for the miracles He performs.
‘I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end,
Even when the sky is falling.
I’ve seen miracles just happen,
Silent prayers get answered,
Broken hearts become brand new.
That’s what faith can do.’ (‘What Faith Can Do’, Kutless)
‘What Faith Can Do’, Kutless