As a child/young person I knew the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Gideon, David…I had heard people say…God spoke to me. I had been taught Matthew 7:7-9 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”
And so, believing what I had been taught, I asked God to reveal Himself to me. “Lord, touch me, shake my bed…do something now!” Nothing!!! Yes, I was disappointed – confused. What was wrong with God, or with my relationship with God?
Now I have a few ideas as to why God did not meet my request. When Jesus was teaching a large crowd on a hillside, He told the story of the beggar Lazarus who, when he died, went to Abraham’s side in heaven. And the rich man who continually ignored Lazarus went to hell. The rich man can see Lazarus next to Abraham and he urges Abraham to send someone to earth to warn people. Abraham replied: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16: 20 -31
The Bible provides many examples of the reality of God: water in the desert, Daniel in the lion’s den…Paul wrote: “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:18-20
I knew the stories of God’s miraculous “activities” recorded in the Bible. I had come to believe that our physical world with its plants, animals and people did not just happen. Deep down I had no question as to the reality of God.
What I wanted was a personal demonstration by God of His reality. If God had physically touched me, would I expect God to do whatever I asked? If God did whatever I asked, would He be God? And what would happen to my pride? What would other people expect of me?
I have read about many miracles…and been a part of many miracles…like my going to Pioneer Camp.
I cannot think of one miracle God has done for the sole purpose of demonstrating that He could “do a miracle”.
Every miracle in the Bible was to meet a specific need – Noah/flood, parting of water, Daniel in lion’s den, calming storm, healing people… Through miracles God meets specific needs – and in the process demonstrates His reality.
As we seek to live as God’s children, as His friends, may we be able to say with Mary: “I am the Lord's servant.” Luke 1:38. Our challenge is to trust him through our fears; thank him in our joys. I do not always meet this challenge, but this does not change the fact that God is real and that God desires to treat each of us as individuals – to accomplish His purposes – while meeting our real needs.
When God needs to work through a miracle, God shows that He has the ability. God did not feel the need to shake my bed…and He was right. Even without the bed shaking I have trusted in the God I cannot see.