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When You Need a Miracle…and When You Don’t

Man can’t cause them and the laws of nature can’t stop them. They look like manna falling from heaven, water gushing from a rock, a man rising from the dead four days after he was buried, and five loaves and two fishes multiplied to feed five thousand. They show up in the disappearance of cancerous tumors, bags of groceries found on doorsteps and cocaine addictions gone within seconds. Who wouldn’t want a miracle?

Apostolic people believe that Biblical miracles were real, and that God works miracles today. The New Testament teaches us to pray for miracles, to expect miracles to happen and that believers can even have the gift of the working of miracles. All of us have encountered problems that could only be resolved through the mighty power of God. When this happens, we should not hesitate to pray for a miracle. Indeed, we have plenty of witnesses among us who have personally experienced miracles from God.

To expect God to perform miracle for any reason, however, is an abuse of his eternal purpose. Not only does it result from a gross misunderstanding of man’s relationship with God, it forces people to make wrong decisions and causes them to be bitter against God. It is sad when people become angry and bitter against God because he didn’t do something that he never intended to do in the first place.

The human side of me wishes that God would have performed a lot of miracles that he didn’t. I wish God would have kept the three Hebrews from going into the fiery furnace; that he would have stopped Daniel from being thrown into the lion’s den; that he would have prevented Peter from cursing Jesus; that he would have stopped Judas from betraying him; that he would have spared the life of Stephen who was stoned to death; that he would have delivered Paul from the thorn in the flesh. God, in his wisdom, chose not to perform any of these feats. Strangely, we believe we are entitled to a bubble around us to keep us from cuts, bumps or bruises. We think that anything stressful, dangerous or inconvenient should summon the miraculous power of God to make it peaceful, safe and convenient. But God has never worked this way. He purposes are higher than our myopic vision can see. (Ephesians 3:11). In our carnality, we pray shortsighted and selfish prayers that ironically seek to circumvent the will of God by means of the power of God! There are at least five circumstances in which you don’t need a miracle.

Preparation . God is not going to deliver you from a trial that will prepare you for a greater purpose to be fulfilled in your life. All of us are works in progress. God continues to shape us, whether he uses the potter’s wheel or the refiner’s fire. To stop would abort his plan. 1 Peter 1:7 says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” Refusing God’s test means rejecting his design for your life.

Reaping . God is not going to keep you from reaping the consequences of your actions. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:7-9. If you make foolish decisions, you cannot pray for a miracle to get you off the hook.

Establishment of truth. God is not going to subvert his own Word. Why should he undermine that which is perfect and forever settled in heaven? Instead of praying for a miracle that calls for God to alter his Word, we simply need to follow the precepts of the Word. “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:9-16. We have no excuse to live and think outside the parameters of the Bible.

Obedience. God is not going to enable disobedience. If he has already forbidden something in his Word, he cannot grant permission for it. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 1:18-20.

Responsibility . God is not going to do something for you that you need to do for yourself. It is up to us, for example, to keep our own hearts clean. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1. He wants us to grow and growing involves learning, strengthening and mastering vital components of our lives. Helping the chick to hatch or forcing the rose to bloom destroys nascent life. A miracle of intervention may temporarily stop your pain, but it will also destroy the eternal purpose of God.

Pray for a miracle when you genuinely need one. When you don’t, pray for grace.

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