At a church service about a year ago we listened to the pastor explain why he didn’t believe God worked miracles any longer.
He carefully exegeted a scripture passage and explained the theological position he’d learned in seminary.
He finished by saying, “You may view things differently but I’ve never seen a true extraordinary miracle.”
I thought, “No kidding. I wonder why?”
I was reminded of that when I read this story of Jesus performing a miracle.
A man with a paralyzed hand is in the synagogue where Jesus goes to worship. Jesus has a discourse with some religious fundamentalists about the legality of healing on the Sabbath.
Finally, Jesus says to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He does and Jesus heals him instantly.
It says then the religious leaders left angry and discussed how to get rid of this interloper Jesus.
I wondered, “How could they have seen what just happened and yet completely missed it?”
Yet, the same thing happens with us sometimes too doesn’t it? Well, at least it does with me.
See often when God intervenes in our lives it messes up our neat little box we’ve put him in. And frankly none of us like having our tidy lives turned upside down.
So when God intervenes it always costs us something.
The same was true for these religious leaders. Jesus might cost them their political and religious positions. So they stood there blindly looking past the miracle.
Yet, stop and think about what it cost this man who was healed.
He’s in the synagogue surrounded by religious leaders who simply want to use him to get to Jesus. He’s caught in a dangerous game. If he doesn’t cooperate he’s in trouble. And if he believes in Jesus he could be expelled or worse as one of his followers.
Yet, courageously he puts out his hand as Jesus requested. He forgot about the dangers and I’m guessing thought, “Why not? What have I really got to lose?”
He chose to quit worrying about what his neighbors or his pastor or his family would say. And he simply responded to Jesus’ request.
Then wham, a miracle!
The man saw and felt it. He knew in that moment God was real and loved him. God touched him with a miracle and no one could ever explain that away.*
I’ll be honest, I’ve seen some no kidding full up miracles. No not every time for sure. And yes some come in hidden ways. But I’ve seen unquestionable miracles of God in my life and in the lives of some I’ve prayed for.
And it’s always disrupting. And sometimes offending to those who don’t want to be disrupted.
Yet it’s always amazing and in the end so worth it.
So when the pastor said he’d never seen a miracle I understood why and frankly felt sorry for him. And felt frustrated because he was teaching his congregation to look with the same blind eyes.
We can make sure we never see a miracle. Or we can make sure we do.
What has been your experience?
Please share it on Facebook, Twitter or email me.
*Matthew 12: 13-14