Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 64: Miracle

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:13 NASB)

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, 1 Corinthians 12:7- 10 NASB 

There is a common misperception among people of faith that miracles no longer occur and also a tendency to discount supernatural events as nothing more than an overactive imagination. Perhaps we don't say it aloud, but our refusal to believe in the possibility of healing, miracles, and all the other manifestations of the Holy Spirit is nothing more than lack of faith. When we refuse to believe what Scripture clearly says is true, we are denying God and the truth of His Word. 

Did those words make you cringe? I understand. If I fail to see the miraculous in my life, it must be that the miraculous no longer happens, right? No. Of course not. My failure to recognize the Hand of God in no way limits His ability to act on my behalf. 

We serve a God who can do whatever needs to be done. He is omnipotent, which means He has unlimited power, and omniscient, which means He has unlimited knowledge. He knows everything and sees everything. God has not stopped being God simply because we are too busy to pay attention to what He is doing.

As if the facts that the sun still hangs in the sky and the earth still rotates on its axis were not miracle enough, our God is actively involved in our daily lives. He is still aware of our needs and acting on our behalf. Miracles still happen.

One miracle that comes to mind from years ago happened during a storm. Workmen were adding a front porch to our house. They had not anticipated rain and had left without securing the roof. When the storm started, rain began to pour into my house at the junction between the house and the addition. The rain was coming in at an incredible rate and there was no way to contain it. Visions of water damage danced in my head as Ryan and I desperately tried to catch the water in pitchers and basins, mopping what I missed with towels and praying nonstop. It was a mess and getting worse. 

A phrase keep repeating itself in my mind. "You will do greater works than I have done." I had no idea what that meant in this particular situation, but after a few minutes I realized that it was time for a great work of some kind. Ryan and I went downstairs, stepped out onto the front porch, raised our hands and began to pray. The image of Jesus lifting his hands and telling the storm, "Peace. Be still," came to mind, so that's what we did. We raised our hands toward heaven again and, in the name of Jesus, asked God to make the storm be still. "Peace. Be still," we said.

Then, a miracle happened. I can see it like it was yesterday. The storm continued to rage all around my house, but the rain stopped completely over my house. Not another drop of rain poured into my house. Not one drop. It was a miracle. There is nothing else you could possibly call it. 

When the miracle of the storm happened, it changed something in me because I suddenly understood that nothing is impossible with God. That understanding expanded my willingness to pray "big" prayers because I know there is nothing too big for God to handle. He can do anything He wants to do. The night of the storm, He chose to do a transforming work for a frightened woman and her young son and it changed our lives forever.

Space does not allow for the telling of every miracle I've seen God do, but that was not the only time I asked for a miracle and it was not the only time I've received one. 

Lest you think, "Oh, she has the gift of miracles and that's why she got a miracle," let me clarify. My spiritual gift is not that of miracles. That miracle of the storm had very little to do with me. I asked for a miracle, but it was God who delivered it. My asking was not to test God or see if He could do it. My asking was because nothing but a miracle would be enough, and God delivered us.

If I were reading this instead of writing it, I would be thinking, "How can I get a miracle, too?" I don't have an easy answer for that, but the story of King Hezekiah and Rabshakeh comes to mind. Hezekiah had done right in the eyes of the Lord, he had torn down the places of idol worship, had restored worship in the kingdom, and had led his people to greater faith in God. Assyria had already captured Samaria and Israel. Their threat of destruction against Judah was very real. 

When Assyria threatened to destroy them, Hezekiah didn't waste time worrying or making a plan. Hezekiah presented his problem to the Lord and asked God to deliver Him so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God. (2 Kings 19:19) Hezekiah wasn't asking for deliverance just to see a miracle. He was asking that God deliver His people in such a way that God alone would be glorified. When God moved, that's exactly what happened. He delivered Judah in such a way that only He could do it. He received the honor and the glory and all the people praised Him.

Seeing the miraculous intervention of God begins with a relationship of intimacy with Him, the faith to ask God to do what only He can do, and the humility to give Him all the credit. Do you need a miracle? Take your need to the only One who can do what needs to be done and wait with expectation. God is still in the miracle-working business.