It's a miracle!

The difference between miracles and divine providence

By Mark King

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Now, I want to ask you a question: Were these events just recounted truly miracles? Couldn't a skeptic easily call these things into question? Don't people drop things out of their pockets all the time and don't other people find them on the street all the time? Don't people get money in the mail all the time? Don't babies turn around in the womb all the time? Don't airshows have safety delays all the time? And given enough calls, wouldn't you expect that a salesman might get two people who had already gotten quotes for policies and now they simply wanted to put them in place?

I read an article by an atheist who had attended a lot of churches and was giving his impressions of them. In the literature from one church he attended, the pastor proclaimed that God had miraculously provided the church building where they held services. The atheist said he expected to find a story about how the building had descended from the sky and landed on an empty lot, but instead he read about how people had worked and given sacrificially to pay for the building. To him, it didn't seem like a miracle at all.

I think that in the Christian community, we may throw the word "miracle" around a little too much. I have no doubt that God was behind each of the events that I mentioned above. The timing and the specific details are just too much to be coincidental. But I don't think they are properly called miracles. I believe this type of event falls into a category that Christians don't use enough — Divine Providence. Providence is God's provision for our needs through "natural" means. God is providing for us all the time, but occasionally He does it in such a way that we catch a special glimpse of his care for us.

When you compare the things I have mentioned above with the miracles in the New Testament, you will see a qualitative difference. No matter how many times you pour water back and forth between two jars, it will never become wine. No matter how many times you spit on the ground, make mud, and put it on the eyes of a man born blind, it is not going give him his sight. No matter how many times you tell a man crippled from birth to get up and walk, he won't be able to do it. No matter how many times you break up five loaves and two fish, will they never begin to multiply. You can line up a thousand people to try to walk across a lake and they will all sink every time. No matter how many graves you watch, you will not see a dead person wake up and come out, even if you should their names over and over. When confronted with the miracles in the Bible, no one could say "this was bound to happen sooner or later."

People who are skeptical of the resurrection of Jesus often protest that this sort of thing is just impossible. "Dead people simply do not rise from the dead." If their contention is that dead people do not normally rise from the dead, then we would have to agree with them. The Easter claim is not that Jesus somehow just came back to life. The Easter claim is that a genuine miracle happened — God raised Jesus from the dead in a unique event that would never have happened in a billion years on its own.

So the next time you catch a glimpse of God in what He provides for you in answer to prayer and in a way that you know only He could, please don't say "it's a miracle." That may give unbelievers and skeptics the wrong impression. I encourage you to say "this is the way God has provided for me" and then share with them the miracle — the resurrection of Jesus!

Image Credit: andreas160578; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | God-Father

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Published 4-13-17