We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
– Hebrews 2:1-4
“This is the difficult situation in which we find ourselves. [The difficult situation is to believe or not believe in miracles today or in a God that can perform miracles in any age.] Everything says that to open ourselves to this God is to take a great risk, and it is a risk. But what if the facts say that taking this risk is a far safer bet than not taking the risk? What if swimming to shore to stop floating down the great river along which we have been traveling is a lifesaving action, because the river is getting stronger and faster with every second, and eventually we won’t be able to get to shore because the current will be far too powerful and swift, and only then will we hear the roaring waterfall that will destroy us?
“That is the question.”
– Eric Metaxas, Miracles
This is the conclusion of the series on Miracles, and the quote above concludes his book, Miracles. Instead of using “A summation to the Series…”, I titled this post with the famous call by Al Michaels in 1980 when a bunch of kids from the US defeated the Russian Army hockey team in the Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. My wife and I were in Germany at the time. The Armed Forces television system did not carry the game or the final game against Finland, but we watched them on German television. It was crude and snowy. The two systems are not exactly compatible, but we saw enough.
But the reason for asking the question is that this is the 13th day with a post on the topic of miracles. I pray that the posts have been informative, but I hope and pray that God is a little bigger in our minds as a result. The God of the universe is not just the God that put things in motion many, many years ago, He is active in counting the hairs on your head today. He didn’t stop with miracles 2,000 years ago; He still works in our lives and occasionally lets us know He is still active today.
You can visit Monticello near Charlottesville, VA. You can see the Jefferson Bible on display where Thomas Jefferson carefully cut all references to miracles out of the Bible. Are you in his camp?
You can believe that miracles ended when the Apostles died, thus confining miracles to Biblical times. Are you in this camp?
Or you can believe that miracles happen today? What Metaxas is talking about is that this belief is risky. That means that God doesn’t just look from outside time and space to marvel at His creation. He enters into time and space to wink at us from time to time. That means that this God is not only all powerful, but He gets involved in our lives.
How is that risky? There are multiple ways. We can pray and have a “yes” answer and we think that our prayer did it, rather than God doing it. We can get a “no” answer and become resentful, blaming God. Or we can lose hope, because God always liked the other guy best.
But probably the biggest risk is alienation from a world that is quickly becoming agnostic. Metaxas uses an assumed Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote (per a reported speech, not his writings), “Silence in the face of evil is in itself evil.” He went on to add, “Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Metaxas alludes to the idea regarding a God that performs miracles, not to decide is to decide. The decision is whether to believe or not. The world keeps saying that everything must be proven within the realms of known science or discarded. Many within the church are in this camp. When I mentioned that the virgin birth is where many draw the line on what they’ll believe and what they won’t, I was thinking of various churches who ask an elder or seasoned Sunday school teacher to create an “Essentials of Faith” Sunday school class. In other words, what can we accept out of the Bible and what can we discard, but still be saved? It is what the writer of Hebrews is saying in the Scripture passage above to not drift away. Drifting where? Welcome to the roaring waterfall from the Metaxas quote above.
Metaxas uses the ‘river’ analogy in the previous paragraph before the above quote. He says that the present world’s agnosticism “is the wisest course, that not deciding is the smart decision. It says that behaving as though the universe is all that there is is the safer course. It is easy to float along the wide river of agnostic, materialistic, naturalistic culture. But into our lazy reverie Jesus makes the statement: ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.’”
Al Michaels asked the question regarding a hockey game and millions responded along with Michaels, “Yes!” Now it is our turn. Do we believe that God is still performing miracles today?
For me, I must break it down a little. Do I believe that the Holy Bible is true? Yes, therefore I believe that God did all those things in the Bible, and God has the power to do miracles. Now, does God love me? Yes, I believe that God loves me so much that some of the sin that weighed Jesus down on that cross was mine. Yes, a thousand times yes, God loves me. Has God lost His power? No. Just because science can postulate things that science cannot prove changes not my belief. Does God love other people, besides me? Yes, He does. Then, why would I ever consider that God does not enter the time space continuum to poke at us, nudge us, and wink at us? If God loves me and others in this world, there is no reason to believe that He’d not use His power to let us know He is there and He loves us. It may not be the popular road, but I believe it is the right road to be on.
There is a church in Biloxi, MS that was one of the few surviving structures after hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast in 1969. People said it was a miracle that this one structure survived, a structure built in the rough shape of a fish. Other, stronger structures were leveled. It was battered by hurricane Katrina and suffered more damage than during Camille, but it is still there.
I became a born-again believer soon after Camille in 1969. When I heard about the church soon after accepting Jesus into my heart, it was as if God had poked my funny bone. I laughed, because my God was letting me know, “Hi, there. I see you, and I still love you.”
Do you believe in miracles? I hope your answer is “YES!”