Understanding miracles

Published 5:40 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mildly stated, the issue of miracles has been a troubling one. Do miracles still happen? This has been one of the biggest and longest-running controversies of the church.

To be sure, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Era have all added blocks of separation between miracles and our daily lives. On the other hand, people have and do believe in miracles. Writing in his book “Conversations of the Heart,” Bishop Woodie White, past resident Bishop of the Candler School of Theology, said, “I do believe in miracles-the occurrence of acts not explained by rational and logical reasoning, cures and healings that have taken place in the face of contrary medical predictions and evidences.”

I tried to read as much as I could about miracles. One of the best things I read was a short sermon by Barbara Brown Taylor, noted preacher, professor and author, titled “The Problem with Miracles.” I’d like to mention that a few of the thoughts Dr. Brown shared that I found helpful. She said:

4The problem with miracles is that it is hard to mention them without wanting one of your own.

4Not everyone who prays for one gets one not by a long shot, and meanwhile there are people who get them without asking for them at all.

4 There is no formula for miracles because God rarely does anything the same way twice.

4One of the meanest things religious people do is to blame the lack of miracle on a lack of faith.

4Faith does not work miracles. God does.

Personally, my favorite definition of a miracle and one I whole-heartedly believe is the following: “A miracle is when God makes a way.” As Isaiah the prophet observed, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it! I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (43:19).”

If you were asked to name a miracle that God has performed in your life, you might not be able to answer.

But what if you were asked to name a way God has made for you when there didn’t seem to be a way?

I’ve found a number of situations I wasn’t sure how it would go. But God made a way.

What about the time when someone held your hand, figuratively or otherwise? God made a way.

Albert Einstein noted, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing in a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I choose the latter.