Sunday, August 5, 2012

What If You Can't Work Miracles?

It's the modern-day miracles that stick in our memory.  They're the ones we repeat to friends and family, the kind that only the word miracle can properly describe.     

This word is whispered around the boy who walks away from the pile of crumpled metal that once looked like a car.

It is the only way to explain the couple who survives in a small four-walled bathroom that withstands a tornado's strength while every other wall is blown down for miles around.

Yes, only miracle can describe the woman whose first MRI shows cancerous tumors throughout her body only to have the doctors go in for surgery and find every last trace of illness has vanished. 

We see the power of God in the miracles--big and small--around us.  It is good to give Him thanks for what He does in these kinds of blessings.

The problem comes if we think the power of God will only manifest itself in the miraculous, the unexplainable, the Hollywood-style events.

Yet, if the power of God was never again demonstrated in something Webster's would deem a miracle, still, God's power would be at work.

With all the show-stoppers, we tend to forget the power of the Word of God.

Consider John the Baptist.  

Before his birth, the angel appeared to his father, Zacharias, and prophesied John's coming, saying he would be "'filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord'" (Lk. 1:15-17).

Describing John as having the "power of Elijah" likely caused his parents to think their little boy would be working miracles left and right.  In the Old Testament, Elijah worked sixteen recorded miracles; this was the man of God who prayed that the heavens be shut up and there was no rain for three years, who restored a child's life, who multiplied the oil so a widow did not starve, who divided the waters of the Jordan River.

Yet, even with this promise of power,  John the Baptist performed not one miracle  recorded in Scripture.  

Not. One. 

The power of the Holy Spirit that dwelt within him wasn't inactive.  No.  The power merely manifested itself differently (and no less miraculously). 

Scripture describes this eccentric man wearing camel's hair and noshing on locusts and honey as a magnet for swarms of people traveling great distances to catch a glimpse at this voice in the wilderness: "Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins" (Matt. 3:5-6).

The throngs of people didn't come to see John work great miracles.  Instead, they came to hear him preach the Word of God:

"Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ' Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight!’” (Matt. 3:1-3).

John's power was The Word. 

He drew men to the desert by preaching nothing but The Word of God.

It was a power that not only drew them to him but that also led them to repent, confess their sins, and be baptized, paving the way for salvation with Christ's coming.

Sometimes, I wish I had catchier stories to draw people to my blog.  Or maybe if I just had a more powerful testimony of being saved out of the worst life possible...  Then, maybe people would listen to what I have to say.  Then, perhaps I would be more instrumental in drawing others to repent and find saving faith.

But I must realize--we must realize--the power of God's Word is enough to draw men and women to Christ.

Those who later met Jesus said of John the Baptist, "While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true" (Jn. 10:41).

This is what we must strive to do.  
We need not perform any sign or miracle.  We must simply be faithful, like John, and speak the Word of God.  

It is as powerful as any miracle to point others to the truth of Christ and His offer of salvation.

Image: First glimpse of my twins in early 2008. These are truly my miracles.

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