A friend told me about a colleague whose son became deathly ill. Nothing the doctors tried seemed to work. His son was literally dying.
The father knew my friend was a Christian and, though he didn’t believe in God, he asked him to pray for his son.
The son remarkably recovered back to full health.
My friend later was talking with the father who said, “You know, we just can’t explain it. We were really lucky. But I just still can’t believe in God.”
Hmm, what else would God need to do?
Yet, not to be too hard on him, I’ve seen this happen way too often. God works a miracle and the response is, “Wow, what luck!”
In fact, it happens so often my friend renamed the Holy Spirit, “Lucky”.
I find it reassuring in a way that Jesus faced the same challenge.
He healed a man who was demon possessed and couldn’t see or speak. Yet, the religious leaders, who witnessed it, responded, “Wait a minute. This isn’t a miracle from God. We know he performed this trick with black magic or evil power.”
Interestingly, they never denied the miracle had occurred because they couldn’t. They only tried to explain it away because they didn’t want to admit Jesus was who he said he was, their Messiah.
Jesus replied with three proofs for why this miracle came from God and couldn’t be explained any other way.
Yet, even after that these religious leaders simply wouldn’t accept what they’d clearly seen.
I think Jesus, in a sense, offers us the same opportunity.
I truly have seen out and out miracles. Occasionally, an instantaneous healing. Sometimes a healing over time that just shouldn’t have taken place.
I’ve seen addicts cured of their addictions. Homeless changed into productive people.
I’ve seen destroyed marriages rekindled. Emotionally broken people find wholeness.
In all of those situations people have the opportunity to accept the miracle for what it is or to try and explain it away. Often they choose the latter. Something they go through contortions to do but try anyway. So they don’t have to accept the alternative.
See I think our choice becomes do we accept the only reasonable explanation with its life changing implications? Or do we reject that in favor of some other explanation which may make no sense yet leads to a conclusion we prefer?
Jesus responded to the religious leaders, “If I am doing all this by God’s power then the kingdom of God is here now.”*
And what do we do with that?
Amazingly God never forces it on us. He gives us a choice.
We can continue to live in our little closed off self made worlds.
Or we can open ourselves up to be a part of God’s unlimited, powerful, loving kingdom.
When contrasted like that I feel sad for people who settle for the scraps that fall on the floor beside the table when they’re invited to sit at the banquet.
Do you really want to see God? The answer will set the course of your life.
How have you experienced this?
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*Matthew 12: 25-29