Authored by Steve Hearts (a guest contribution)
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I recently reflected on how my perspective on miracles has evolved throughout my life. Although I’ve had faith in Jesus ever since childhood, I often compared myself with those who’d witnessed healings, resurrections, and other dramatic miracles—thinking I’d missed out. I then came across an eye-opening definition of the word miracle: “An event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause.”1 This caused me to reflect further on my past, and I realized that I recalled many events which perfectly fit this definition.
I was born two months premature, weighing only three pounds at birth—added to which, it was the middle of a typhoon. Because the power kept failing at the hospital, I was moved to the intensive care unit—the only area with working electricity. My parents were told that I’d most likely not survive the night. But when my dad prayed, he recalled the saying, “Little is much if God is in it.” Although I was very “little” and had to stay in the incubator for a month—and was given too much oxygen, which is probably what caused my blindness—I pulled through and am still alive and well today. How could this be considered anything less than a miracle?
My mother got a book about the Braille system and learned to sight-read Braille—without going to school or taking any classes. She then taught me to read it with my fingers. Considering what a difficult student I often was, my learning to read was an amazing accomplishment.
Then one day, when reading a magazine while waiting in an office, my dad learned that the entire A Beka course in Braille—all the way through 12th grade—was available free of charge. This enabled me to complete my studies. Who else but God could have brought this about? Throughout my life as a volunteer missionary, I’ve been amazed at how many items that I’ve needed have been provided for me—including clothing, musical instruments, etc.—even though I didn’t have the ability to pay for them.
Every time the need arose for a new house, our prayers and efforts to find one were always wonderfully rewarded. Although my family and I have found ourselves in some uncertain situations throughout the years, never once did we end up on the streets. Although we have at times needed to temporarily leave the mission field due to situations that needed our attention, we were never without a place of service to return to in the end.
How could I forget about the three vehicles that were stolen over a period of several years while living in Los Angeles? Two of these were returned to us in answer to desperate prayer. Even the police told us that the recovery of a stolen car was not a common occurrence in that area.
These events may never have appeared in the media and may not be as attention-drawing as amazing healings or dramatic resurrections. Nevertheless, they certainly are manifestations of the love, care, and omnipotence of a truly awesome God.
I am by no means undermining God’s ability to work truly remarkable miracles that leave us speechless and amazed. On the contrary: the results of exploring and exercising spiritual gifts have left me even more in awe of His power. But I have come to learn that when we recognize and acknowledge the seemingly small—albeit obvious—ways God manifests Himself to us, He will often increase His power so that He can be glorified even more.
Regularly reflecting on past miracles and interventions from above can serve as an excellent source of strength for our faith when we feel overwhelmed by the difficulties of the present. Along these lines, an important lesson can be learned from God’s people of ancient days. The miracles and divine manifestations the Israelites experienced during their wanderings in the wilderness were innumerable—manna from heaven to feed them, a cloud to shade them by day and a fire to light their way at night, countless miracles of deliverance, conquest, and victory. Even so, they persisted in their unbelief and were thus unable to enter the Promised Land. No more can we expect to see the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives if we cave in when the going gets tough: it’s only by persevering and striving to believe in the unseen that we can reach and take possession of what God has in store for us.
Do you find yourself struggling to see God’s hand in your life? Take a walk down memory lane, and let Him remind you of how He’s never left you nor forsaken you in the past. This will encourage your faith to believe that He does not intend to leave you nor forsake you today.
1 Definition of “miracle”
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2013 by The Family International