“There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (man’s search for God) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?” C.S. Lewis, Miracles.
It is a most miraculous moment if you want it. The instant that time stands still and you know the God of the universe has cast his all-seeing gaze on you. He has seen your fear, He has answered your call, He reacts to you and acts on your behalf. You see his arm moves… in your favour.
The Lord has made bare His holy arm
In the eyes of all the nations;
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:10)
Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him. (Isaiah 40:10)
God is baring his arm for you. It is as if I see the action of rolling up his sleeve. It is the action of somebody who is ready to work. All his power and goodness flow into his arm and hand that He stretches out to touch you.
Moses sang about God’s hand and arm with his powerful touch on his people.
“Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;
Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. (Exodus 15:6)
The Psalmist had a lot to say about God’s arm and hand.
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. (Psalms 98:1)
Many centuries later Mary sang about God’s arm in her song of praise when the angel brought her the news of her pregnancy.
He has shown strength with His arm… (Luke 1:51)
You might say this is all good for Biblical times. What about today? Can I still rely on a miracle when I live in fear of the day? Our struggle against all the evil around us: destruction, divorce, deception, disfigurement, dishonesty and so much more can be overwhelming. We try our best in the world given to us with what we get to equip us for a daunting task. If we look around us we might doubt the possibility of a miracle – rightly so.
The post-modern wailing about the non-existence of God casts a dark shadow over the faith of our childhood, if indeed we were so lucky to grow up with faith. So many children grow up in a godless and god-cursing environment. Is there extraordinary support available? Might there be something like a miracle?
The only way to meet the God of miracles is through Jesus, whom He sent as the incarnation of himself to reveal his heart and mind to humanity. What is the most notorious fact about the life of Jesus before his death? His miracles- of course. In our world with the squeal of New Atheism the miracles are attacked in a mocking and scoffing way to ridicule anybody so naïve to believe them. Water into wine – come on! A virgin pregnant – we all know where babies come from!
Christians often draw back and think they do not have the answers, or their answers suddenly feel inadequate. The counter argument is that of science and the superiority of all that can be explained in real terms. There are however, so many things that science are still grappling with. They can describe energy, but not explain it. They can define consciousness, but not explain it or the origin of it. They cannot deny the existence of both energy and consciousness and therefore they have to accept the existence of something they cannot explain. Why should they demand an explanation of the claim that Jesus was both God and man at the same time?
It is very important to acknowledge and know the normal course of business, to concede a miracle. If the dead regularly came to life, it would not be extraordinary. If 5000 homeless men are fed from one picnic basket every week, we would soon be very familiar with it, and it would be nothing special.
A miracle is God’s supernatural – above and beyond the laws of nature that rule our world daily, action in our lives. It is his extraordinary intervention into my specific situation.
Often the most significant miracles take place inside us when fear and anger in the deepest crevasses of our heart and thoughts are stirred and healed by the Holy Spirit. God rolls up his sleeves and get to work to heal me.
Circumstances are a field of action for miracles. How would we ever know what a miracle is, if we never need one? There, in the corner of discouragement and panic, we feel God’s hand touch us from an outstretched arm to reach us, however far we might have wandered off away from him.
And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm;therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:15)
Crucial in these processes of God’s action in our life is to see, to acknowledge and to remember the miracle, in order to make it part of our testimony of praise to God. Miracles are often judged and categorized in our mind. We think of small and big miracles. It is important to see all of them and express your gratitude to the Lord. The insight of the Holy Spirit alerts us to the awesome work of God in our lives.
The testimony of miracles is the gold refined by firementioned in Revelation 3:18. The Psalmist warns against a superficial attitude when God’s intervention is to be taken seriously.
Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;
They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies,
But rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea. (Psalms 106:7)
Even the disciples did not hold the miracles in high regard.
For they failed to consider or understand [the teaching and meaning of the miracle of] the loaves; [in fact] their hearts had grown callous [had become dull and had lost the power of understanding]. (Mark 6:52, AMPC)
Strong words indeed! Let us hold the intervention of the mighty arm of God in high esteem and lift our testimony up on the altar of our pebbles of perpetuity on the banks of the Jordan (Joshua 4). Then when people ask: why is this altar of testimony built, we can answer with the high praises of God in our mouth. In doing so we will avoid the harsh insult of callous hearts and foolish, superficial lives.