Light + Life Executive Editor
Jeff Finley is this magazine’s executive editor. He joined the Light+Life team in 2011 after a dozen years of reporting and editing for Sun-Times Media. He is a member of John Wesley Free Methodist Church where his wife, Jen, serves as the lead pastor.
by Jeff Finely
Do you believe in miracles? If so, have you prayed for a miracle? Did you experience a miracle?
Perhaps the last question may be the hardest to answer. Some miracles may not immediately be seen as miraculous, but we may later recognize God’s supernatural involvement. In other instances, we may never realize the ways in which God intervened miraculously on our behalf. After all, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Of course, God’s work isn’t always recognizable when we’re suffering. If we are “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed” (2 Corinthians 4:8), a miracle may be necessary to avoid being crushed. After hard pressing, however, we may not feel like we experienced a miracle even when we did.
My wife and I were married for a decade without being able to have a child. We prayed earnestly for a medical miracle, received anointing with oil, and visited multiple doctors. A church friend provided additional hope when she told us that God revealed to her that we would have a baby. That prophecy seemed to come true when a doctor finally confirmed a pregnancy, but a subsequent ultrasound revealed a devastating miscarriage.
We eventually pursued adoption. After two years of research, paperwork and financial investment, our miracle seemed to arrive when we got the call that a newborn boy’s biological parents had chosen us to become his forever family. We drove to the hospital and met the adorable boy whom we believed was our miracle. The next day, a phone call informed us that quickly shifting circumstances meant the boy would no longer be available for adoption.
When we later got a call from a different adoption agency about a baby boy several states away, I was skeptical. Space constraints won’t allow the details, but I now see the miraculous hand of God in the events that led to our son joining our family.
Our experiences do not negate the miraculous ways in which God physically heals other people of infertility. As Chuck White explains in this issue of LIGHT + LIFE, the New Testament includes examples in which one person miraculously received physical healing while another equally deserving Christian did not.
God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). His miracles are real even though they don’t always come in the ways we expect. As Carolyn Moore writes in Seedbed Publishing’s “Supernatural,” “Christianity is not a faith with a few miracles sprinkled in for effect. Christianity is a miracle with some good stories thrown in. Miracles are the cornerstone of the Christian faith. To extract them from the gospel of Jesus Christ would be to extract the heart of God for the people He created.”
Some Christians insist miracles ceased after the early church, but believers around the world testify otherwise. Other people claim Jesus as a great teacher, but they conclude a person would have to be ignorant to believe in miracles. C.S. Lewis — no intellectual slouch —countered, “Belief in miracles, far from depending on an ignorance of the laws of nature, is only possible in so far as those laws are known.”
According to 1 Corinthians 12, the Spirit of God gives some people “miraculous powers” while some others have the gift of “distinguishing between spirits” (v.10). The latter gift also is important because things may appear to be miracles without coming from God. The “man of lawlessness,” as described in 2 Thessalonians 2, “will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie” (v.9). Matthew 24:24 and Mark 13:22 also warn of “false messiahs and false prophets” performing “signs and wonders to deceive.”
Don’t fall for fake miracles. Don’t miss the real miracles either. +