[Papercut Press] 2001-08-20 - Miracles

Summer Questions: 10

Numbers 21:8,9 "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live.' And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived."

"But on to my question - as we sat around the dinner table and asked questions and listen to the stories, I had a burning question for them. What miracles have they seen God perform while in the Amazon? I asked him why do we hear such magnificent stories of Gods healing miracles in other countries but not our own. He went on to say that when he called the pastor of his church and told him of the miracle healing he had seen with his own eyes, the church dropped them like hot potatoes and called them heretics and that is when God brought them to our church.

I have only been a Christian now for about 4.5 years and I have seen the wonders God has made in my life, not to mention my families life. I do believe we have a living God and he still performs miracles through us and around us, but I have yet to date seen any type of healing, and we have prayed for quite a few. Why we don't see such wonderful miracles take place that people see in other countries?"

I have shortened and edited this question some for space. There are probably many responses that are possible, but I will just focus on two.

  1. As you say, you know God is a God of miracles because you have seen Him work in you and around you. Changed lives, I would submit, may seem less dramatic or have less of an entertainment value for story telling but, changed lives are really still the most significant miracles God accomplishes.

    To snatch an eternal soul from the kingdom of darkness and bring it in the heavenly realms with Christ will always be the greatest of all miracles. The salvation of a soul clearly doesn't have the shock value of healing a blind man, but that does not diminish the significance of Christ coming into the soul and life of a spiritually dead man and giving him true spiritual sight. This is a miracle. "...Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
  2. But your question is, "Why do we hear about healings and other note worthy miracles in the Amazon and other places, and rarely, if ever, hear about such things in industrialized nations?" I think that this is a great question and I may not really have an answer, but I have a thought. Before I share my take on your question I would like to point out that we do sometimes hear about healings in our culture. For example, Aunt Emma goes to the doctor, finds out she has inoperable cancer, and is given 3-4 months to live. She goes home and gets her church, friends, and family praying for her. She goes back to the doctor 2 weeks later for a checkup, and he can find no trace of the cancer. He has no explanation for this, but the cancer is gone. It is not infrequent to hear of such occurrences. As Christians we would say that God heard our prayers and healed Emma of her cancer. The doctor, and those crippled as pure empiricists, would probably attribute it to a miss-diagnosis.

However, in response to your question, I think that God may chose to work differently in different cultures. The temptations and belief systems that our culture is entangled with are different from those in the Amazon. For example, our culture is laden with apathy, agnosticism, and practical atheism. The culture in the Amazon could not be further from us. Rather than apathy regarding the spiritual world around them, they are saturated by it. Belief in dark forces and what we would call superstitious practices are, for them, quite normal. The spiritual world that we live in and the spiritual world that they live in are not the same. I would suggest that it is possible that God may work differently in each for this reason.

However, I also admit that this is largely speculation on my part. It simply makes sense to me that this could be true. I rest in His sovereignty in how He works and where He works. As is evident in the verses we started with and the healing bronze serpent, God does not always work in the same manner all the time. When we have questions like this it is good to remember what the Psalmist knew in Psalm 135:6, 7, "Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all the deeps. He cause the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings forth the wind from His treasuries."

I hope that helps some with your question.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com