I was talking with a friend the other day about miracles. The topic’s never hypothetical to me, because I think I’ve witnessed one. And I wasn’t the only witness.
It came close to home, literally. I was maybe 13 or 14, there was a big storm starting, and my dad had just put the car in the garage. My mom and I were watching because the storm was so bad, and we saw dad start to walk out of the garage. After a few steps, he suddenly threw himself back against the garage. (As I recall, it almost looked like he’d been pushed.) And instantly a lightning bolt hit right where he’d been.
Mom and I saw it clearly and still remember it more than 30 years later. Dad, by contrast, never remembered it happening.
We have to be careful when we talk about miracles. We can’t let ourselves get too fascinated by them, focusing on the drama at the expense of noticing the daily work God does in our lives. And we have to realize how little we can definitively say about them. They are by definition rare, and we seldom know why they happen: We may at times get an idea in a given case, but even then, we can’t explain why it happens in one case and not in most others. (Beware anyone who tries: e.g., someone who says “it happened because this person had true faith and others didn’t.”)
And yet, we can say this: Miracles do happen. The Christian faith is founded on some very big ones. And there’s no reason to think God stopped performing them at the end of the New Testament era — though they do seem to have faded from regular occurrence in the church past the generation trained by the Apostles. Besides, for all the false and frivolous reports (the face-of-Jesus-in-a-piece-of-toast type), there are far too many credible reports to dismiss.
Nor should we. Even if we’re skeptical of whether a particular event is a miracle, we shouldn’t be skeptical of miracles per se. It’s helpful to remember that the God Who creates and sustains nature is therefore above nature — the meaning of “supernatural” — and actively intervenes in it for His purposes. He generally operates within norms (for He is a God of order), but He is not bound by them.
So with all due cautions noted, the question: How many of you believe you’ve seen a miracle, or know someone reliable who has?