Who Did That?
You’ve probably heard someone say it. You’ve probably even said it yourself. “It’s A Miracle!” That phrase has been said both with great excitement and at other times sarcasm. Most of the time it’s used simply as a figure of speech but at other times you may hear people utter those words actually believing that something miraculous has taken place.
So the question is what do we say to things that take place that are beyond our ability to comprehend or explain? Was it a real miracle acted out by God Himself or a “ministering spirit” (Heb. 1:14)? Or was it just complete luck and happenstance.
This conversation always tends to bring up two different extremes and then a large area in between. One on end you have those that believe in God but deny that he has any interaction with man and the things of this world at all, also known as Deism. On the other extreme you have those who believe that every single movement and action is the direct result of God’s interaction. For example the best parking spot opened up just as I pulled into the parking lot therefore God did that for me.
So, which is it? When things take place in our lives is it God providentially interacting all around me or is it just nature taking its course that God set in motion? While we probably all know those who fall on either extreme I think most of us fall in the middle somewhere. Which side we fall closer to is typically decided by beliefs of course but also what others believe.
What I mean is that because I may strongly disagree with the side that things every time they stub their toe God was speaking to them I typically tend to snuff my nose up when someone says they believe God does those kinds of things. So I naturally fall more to the deism side of the scale. Others are so convinced that others are to set in their ways and old-fashioned that they naturally fall more to the God’s involved in everything side.
Well, where’s the balance, and what does God have to say about it. The time and space of this article won’t allow for a full discussion but let’s just note a few simple points.
Often times great people of faith used language such as “who knows”, “ perhaps”, or “it may be”. They used this kind of language when contemplating what God was going to do. One example is found in 2 Samuel 12 when David is fasting and praying fervently for his newborn child and after the child dies his servants are questioning him. Notice what David says in v.22 – “He said, While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may life?” Notice that though it was what David wanted to happen and he was fully convinced that God was capable, he didn’t demand it of God or even say God was going to. David simply said “who knows.” That came from a heart not weak in faith but strong in faith having the humility to seek God in a way that is focused on God’s will not his own.
There are also examples of great people of faith saying for certain “God did this.” Recall to your memory the whole story of Joseph and all the things that he went through. During that time Joseph couldn’t say with certainty that God was working all these things out for his good but at the end when he could look back he was able to say that God had His hand in it all. “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth…” (Gen. 45:7), “God meant it for good…” (Gen. 50:20). The key with this kind of speech is what we call hindsight. Joseph was able to take the time to reflect and at that moment he was able to say those things.
So which is it? Can we say that God intervened miraculously? Let’s not confuse ourselves with miracles in the sense that we read of them in Scripture where man, even our Lord in the flesh, performed miracles. 1 Corinthians 13 is clear that those days have ceased. But does God still intervene in our lives today? Absolutely! If I didn’t believe that He can or will why would I pray? Many if not most of our prayers are petitions for him to guide, comfort, heal, protect, etc. If He has left us to our own then prayer is for nothing.
With that said It’s not for me to be able to put my finger what, when, how, and why He does but if I’ll look and reflect on the things in my life and His great power I can’t help but stand in awe of His awesome power and providence. Deuteronomy 29:29 reminds us there are things that aren’t for us to know or understand as they belong to God.
We need to focus on the glory of our God. Seek Him in all things through prayer. Believe that He is able to intervene on any kind of scale so long as it is His will to do so. And trust that He knows what is best for us and will always do the right thing. Then…sit back and be amazed at His awesome power and providence.