“What the philosophers say about reality is often as deceptive as when you see a sign in a second-hand store that reads: Pressing Done Here. If you went in with your clothes to have them pressed you would be fooled; the sign is for sale.” Søren Kierkegaard in “Either/Or”
Like poor Frodo Baggins, Daniel first sees the destiny of humanity approach through other people’s dreams, then he has a dream of his own, and then he sees it coming “with his waking eyes“. At the height of these visions all thought of food and drink will leave him, as his visions terrify him.
I’ve been reading quite a lot recently about miracles; most of what I am hearing and reading I do not agree with. Now usually I am happy to leave it alone, after all these are my sisters and brothers who’s understanding of scripture I am criticising, and I am very interested in maintaining our unity.
But I feel convicted to raise some points about Faith and expectations when it comes to miracles.
I start off with 2 premises:
1. God does not do the impossible, He does the miraculous. The impossible only exists as a concept in your mind depending on your definition of God.
2. A miracle, by definition, is not an ordinary event.
Amy Grant has a fairly new song which is full of some surprisingly good theology.
“The honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah sometimes.” It’s maybe pitiful, weak, even philosophical to say that, but it also happens to be very, very biblical.
“The woman holding on for life, the dying man giving up the fight, are better than a hallelujah sometimes.”
Do I offend you pointing this out? I hope not, but if I do I hope that the offense is enough for you to look with me at the theology for a moment.
Is it true that God want’s everyone everywhere to be healed? Is it true that God wants to heal every one that you come across? Is it true that the Church has limited God all these years by explaining away why there is death and disease without having the will and the discipline to believe for more miracles?
Well let’s see:
Is it true that God want’s everyone everywhere to be healed? Is it true that God wants to heal every one that you come across?
Yes, I do believe that it is true, it is certainly what He says that He wants. But He also says that He want’s other things even more.
You know what is amazing about the cripple man that was brought to Jesus on a mat, is that his healed legs were, eventually, unhealed; the blind men’s eyes stopped seeing after a while, the leapers all eventually lost their skin and Lazarus was, in the end, lowered back again to the dead. Not one miracle that Jesus did has lasted till today… except the miracles that will last forever.
The cripple on the mat had his legs healed, but only after he had heard and comprehended the offense that, more important than his legs, his sins were forgiven! If he had chosen to accept his overall healing that day, would he be thankful to God for 40 years of broken legs, without which he would never have come to Christ? His real healing was not physical, I know that because his legs are in much worse repair today than they were when he was brought to Jesus!
Is it true that the Church has limited God all these years by explaining away why there is death and disease without having the will and the discipline to believe for more miracles?
The Church is guilty of rationalizing and not believing, because the Church is human; but I have never once heard of a man, or a church or a civilisation that was able to limit God.
It is the scriptures which explain why there is death and disease, not the Church; and they are there for a very definite purpose. They underline the human condition, without them where would we be? What would humble us?
How would Jesus warn of a hell “where the fire is never quenched and the worm never dies” without real fires that are quenched and real worms which do die, even if they only die by the death of their host. In the light of the horrors you can see, we are told, imagine now a worm that will continue to consume you but never actually kill you!
How are we to learn to rejoice in all circumstances, as Paul encourages so many to do, if all the circumstances yield is victory?
How do I rejoice in my suffering when it is cut short, and without which I have no perseverance? How is God’s power made perfect in my weakness if my weakness is never displayed for all to see? How is His Grace to be sufficient for me if I have an endless supply of His Power also? How do we morn with those who morn if none morn?
Sometimes, quite often actually, these things are a lot better than a hallelujah!
I am so very grateful to have seen many miracles, and I fully expect to see many, many more. And I am very grateful for those who have sparked my faith, and stretched my expectations and my prayers. And I hope that my faith is never reduced to a cold intellectualism. But I don’t think it’s helpful to poke ridicule at the teachers among us, to tell the church that the whole trouble in the church is that those who teach don’t actually believe enough. It would be equally unhelpful for the teachers to say from the pulpit that the evangelists and healers ought to read their whole bible, not just the bits they like.
I am utterly convinced that those who’s gift it is to heal do actually read and interpret as much scripture as they possibly can. Is it not also kind to assume that those of us who are given to teach, to think and to preach, are also operating in as much faith for God’s power in signs and wonders as we possibly can?
What about everyone else? What about someone in the congregation, listening to the audio download telling him that it is unbelief to accept that anyone should suffer and die. He so wants to live like that, free, supernaturally flowing with God. But then someone he loves get’s sick, and even if God has healed a thousand through his new found faith, He does not heal this one dear person.
What happens then to that one someone in the congregation?
Must he believe that he has somehow failed God, or that God has somehow failed him? Must he hold a gun to his Faith?
No, he does not need to. It is OK just to mourn, just to suffer.
Sometimes it’s better than a hallelujah.