A Miracle by definition is: an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause, such an effect or event considered as a work of God.
Often people pray for miracles after they have tried every earthly support and this support has failed them, and then as a final resort, they pray for a miracle. As the definition stated, a miracle surpasses all known human or natural powers, so when human powers have failed, they go beyond.
Sometimes we pray for miracles, but are not prepared to accept the answer the Lord brings as it may hurt.
Let us use the example of physical exercise. People exercise to keep their body physically fit. Sometimes people exercise more intensely because they want to build muscle, to have a better looking and more toned body. What actually happens to the muscles after intense exercise?
“When greater than normal resistance is placed on a muscle, small microscopic tears occur in the tissue—perfectly normal. The size and severity of the tear does depend on exercise intensity. . . .
“The tears in the muscle tissue from exercise disrupt the muscle cell organelles. This disruption activates satellite cells from outside the muscle fibers, which rush to the area of damage. These cells replicate, mature into grown cells and fuse to your muscle fibers. This process forms new muscle protein strands, which increases the strength and visible size of the muscle to better cope with similar physical activity in the future.” https://www.livestrong.com/article/533248-what-happen-to-your-muscles-when-you-work-out/. Thus, the muscle needs to tear first before it can become stronger.
So, what does this analogy have to do with miracles? When we ask for miracles, we may get an unexpected answer. We pray for strength, but the Lord may need to tear us down a little before we can be stronger. “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.” Hosea 6:1. The Lord says, “I wound, and I heal.” Deuteronomy 32:39. “For He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole.” Job 5:18
Why would the Lord sometimes wound, tear and smite a person—especially a Christian who is wanting to follow Him? It is not only to purify character, but to remove all earthly supports, so that we learn to trust in Him alone. It can be a painful process to remove and leave off all earthy supports and idols.
When we pray for miracles, we need to be ready to be torn and humbled if necessary.
Namaan had to be made sick with leprosy before he found his way to the Lord. He went to the prophet Elisha and asked Elisha to perform a miracle, “I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.” 2 Kings 5:11. Yet, he was told to go wash in the muddy waters of the Jordan River. This was not what he expected, but his friends encouraged him to comply, and thus he did, and was healed. Through Namaan’s sickness and suffering, he found the Saviour and was miraculously healed.
If we pray for miracles, we have to be prepared for, and accept, God’s answer.
Now I ask,
- When we pray for miracles, are we willing to face Goliath?
- When we pray for miracles, are we willing to walk in the fiery furnace?
- When we pray for miracles, are we willing to go into the den of lions?
- When we pray for miracles, are we willing to spend 40 years in the wilderness?
- When we pray for miracles, are we willing to be sold as a slave?
- When we pray for miracles, are we willing to deny ourselves of our dearest treasures?
Gideon prayed for a miracle so he could conquer the Midianite army who were like the sands of the sea, compared to his 32,000 men. God’s answer was, yes, but only with 300 of your men. (Judges chapter 6 and 7)
Moses prayed for a miracle in delivering the Israelites from Egypt, and God first led them to the Red Sea, with mountains on either side and the Egyptian army in hot pursuit behind them, before delivering them through the sea(Exodus 14).
Daniel prayed three times a day for a miracle of deliverance for his people from their captivity and he found himself in a Den of Lions (Daniel 6).
The nation of Israel prayed for a miracle of deliverance from the Philistines, and they were told that only one of them needed to fight, but the enemy was Goliath. All the hardened soldiers were fearful, except one young shepherd boy.
Joseph prayed for strength to be faithful in a foreign land with no believers around and he found himself a slave, and later on a prisoner.
These people all faced fearful challenges that would cause most people to shrink back in despair. However, it is the experience of fear that builds our faith, and the realization that the miracle indeed came from God. The trial is not meant to cause us to fear, but to learn to trust. David had courage to face Goliath and in the name of the Lord, he slew him without fear.
The Lord did not bring us out of Egypt to face the trials in the wilderness to fear, but that we would learn to depend on Him. Humanly speaking, we as humans would rely on humans before the Unseen. Often we pray for miracles as a last resort after we have tried and tested all our human supports.
God brings us to Red Seas, to the lion’s dens, to the Goliaths, and fiery furnaces so we will call on Him. He cannot get the glory if there is anyone left on earth we can rely on. Thus He will weaken us down to 300 men so that we will have to say, with men this is impossible, surely God did this. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27
Often when we read the story of Jonah, he is portrayed as a rebel prophet who tried to run away from God. Although nothing is recorded as to his attitude at the time, could we not reason that perhaps he was timid? He loved the Lord, and wanted to serve Him, and so the Lord told him to go face the lions and Goliaths in Ninevah, and he got afraid and ran the other way. We do see his temperament in the end when he got frustrated at the Lord for not following through and destroying the nation. However, he could have been so timid, and now being seen as a “false” prophet he may have wanted to go and hide under a rock. We do not know, but we cannot judge. It was clearly wrong for him to run the other direction, but the Lord straightened him out and put him on the right path, and he faced the mighty nation, preaching the message the Lord had for them.
How do we feel when called upon to face the lions, the fire and the giants? Do we fear—and want to run in the other direction? Or do we go boldly forth in the name of the Lord?
We do pray for miracles in varying other circumstances also as follows:
We pray for miracles in our churches so that they will grow, but are we wiling to help out in the missionary work? Do we always have some excuse such as, too old, too young, too tired, too busy with my own personal work. How easy is it to go and do canvassing work? We often go and put flyers into people’s mail boxes, but how about talking in person to people—to strangers? This is like facing Goliath, for some people. However, seeing as this is the final work that will be done on this earth, are we up to the challenge? Impossible, some may think. They are far too timid. This is when the power of God can enable us to do the impossible. Although we may not go door-to-door, the Lord has people for us to meet wherever we may be. We just need to keep our eyes and ears open to the needs of those around us, and search for opportunities. We cannot be too busy with the cares of this life to neglect the Lord’s work if we want to see miracles in our churches. We are to work for Him at every moment, at school, at work, while shopping, or whatever we find ourselves doing during the day.
“To everyone who becomes a partaker of His grace the Lord appoints a work for others. Individually we are to stand in our lot and place, saying, ‘Here am I; send me.’ Isaiah 6:8. Upon the minister of the word, the missionary nurse, the Christian physician, the individual Christian, whether he be merchant or farmer, professional man or mechanic–the responsibility rests upon all. It is our work to reveal to men the gospel of their salvation. Every enterprise in which we engage should be a means to this end.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 148
“At such a time as this, every hand is to be employed. The
Lord is coming; the end is near, yea, it hasteth greatly!” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 101. “Every day there is something to do for our Lord and Master. Every day we are to point souls to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” –Ibid., p. 48. How do you interpret “every day”? It can be on social media also if you are home all day.
We pray for miracles in the lives of our leaders and workers so that they can be good shepherds of the flock, but are we willing to lift up their hands when they are tired?
In the Old Testament we read: “Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Exodus 17:8–12
Here we witnessed a crisis. Israel was seemingly dependent on Moses’ raised hands for their victory, however Moses was tired. Aaron and Hur were near at hand. They could have become angry with Moses and blamed him for Israel drawing back at that moment. Yet they said not a word. They simply came over to where Moses was standing, had him sit down and they held up his hands. Without being asked, they saw a need and stepped in to fulfil the need. They saw the leader needing help and they helped. Not one word of criticism was spoken.
Some unconverted people in the church study the leaders carefully and criticize every move they make that does not live up to their own private standard as to how a leader should act. “There are many who find special enjoyment in discoursing and dwelling upon the defects, whether real or imaginary of those who bear heavy responsibilities in connection with the institutions of God’s cause. They overlook the good that has been accomplished, the benefits that have resulted from arduous labour and unflinching devotion to the cause, and fasten their attention upon some apparent mistake, some matter that, after it has been done and the consequences have followed, they fancy could have been done in a better manner with fairer results; when the truth is, had they been left to do the work, they would either have refused to move at all under the attending discouragements of the case, or would have managed more indiscreetly than those who did do the work, following the opening of God’s providence.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 196
Maybe the worker is tired and needs help and encouragement. “Happy the minister who has a faithful Aaron and Hur to strengthen his hands when they become weary and to hold them up by faith and prayer. Such a support is a powerful aid to the servant of Christ in his work and will often make the cause of truth to triumph gloriously.” –Ibid., p. 531
We pray for a miracle for our health, but are we willing to change our diets? My husband had an aunt who had three artificial joints. The doctors told her to give up eating red meat. She could not. She simply said “I love my bacon.” And so she continued to suffer ill health, being bedridden in the final years of her life.
Although a large part of ill health has to do with diet, do good people suffer ill health? Yes, they sometimes do. “Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.” 2 Kings 13:14. Would Elisha and his friends have prayed for his healing? Possibly; likely. Nothing is written. We do know he was a very faithful prophet. We do not understand why Elisha suffered. However, he may have prayed for a pure heart and God’s answer may possibly have been this illness. This illness is what Elisha needed for his salvation and for his purity.
Job also suffered ill health as did Ellen G. White. As a youth she suffered a terrible accident and suffered for many years following, before the Lord called her into the office of prophetess. The Apostle Paul also had a thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7).
However, these people more than likely lived up to the health message the best they knew, otherwise their suffering could have been worse.
If we pray for a miracle of health, we must first be willing to comply with the health counsels in the Bible and detailed in greater depth in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. God may or may not heal us. We have to accept His answer. He will help and comfort us in any suffering if He chooses not to heal us because it is for our benefit and salvation. That is the miracle of healing, whether healing of the body or the healing of the mind—having perfect peace and trust in the midst of illness. Just resting in the arms of Jesus.
However, diet is an idol of many and poor diet has led to many diseases that could have been avoided. Ask anyone who has come from a meat-eating background if it was difficult to become a vegetarian. For many it is quite a challenge and they are tempted for many years following. Some give up and say it is not possible. Now, consider how difficult it is for some to adopt a vegan diet. Truthfully, for God’s remnant people today vegetarianism is not enough for salvation. In heaven there will be a vegan diet, a diet free from eggs, dairy, chemicals, preservatives and refined products (white flour products such as rice, pasta, bread, sugar, etc.) and that is the goal we are aiming for. If we are unwilling to make the change and comply with the heavenly diet today, we will not be ready when the Lord comes. Our character and taste must be changed today.
In 1902 (117 years ago) we read from the Spirit of Prophecy, “Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men.” –Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 349. How soon is soon? I believe soon happened many years ago.
“Many have expected that God would keep them from sickness merely because they have asked Him to do so. But God did not regard their prayers, because their faith was not made perfect by works. God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health, and make no efforts to prevent disease. When we do all we can on our part to have health, then may we expect that the blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health. He will then answer our prayer, if His name can be glorified thereby. But let all understand that they have a work to do. God will not work in a miraculous manner to preserve the health of persons who are taking a sure course to make themselves sick, by their careless inattention to the laws of health.” –Ibid., p. 26
Is it easy to change our diet? Often, no. The human frame craves all those addicting foods that the devil has provided and the flesh cries out when denied. Only a miracle from God, and a willingness on our part—a willingness to strive and agonize, will we thus be able to overcome.
We pray for a miracle of victory over sin, but are we willing to strive? Some people would rather blame others, or God, for their mistakes, as did Eve. I once knew a man who could not give up smoking. He said that he prayed to God to remove the sin, but God did not, so it is not his fault any longer. Now it is God’s fault that he smokes. Is this really an excuse? Is it God’s fault?
“We are to do all that we can do on our part to fight the good fight of faith. We are to wrestle, to labor, to strive, to agonize to enter in at the strait gate. . . .
“In one way we are thrown upon our own energies; we are to strive earnestly to be zealous and to repent, to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts from every defilement; we are to reach the highest standard, believing that God will help us in our efforts. We must seek if we would find, and seek in faith; we must knock, that the door may be opened unto us. The Bible teaches that everything regarding our salvation depends upon our own course of action. If we perish, the responsibility will rest wholly upon ourselves. If provision has been made, and if we accept God’s terms, we may lay hold on eternal life. We must come to Christ in faith, we must be diligent to make our calling and election sure. . . .
“The faith we are required to have is not a do-nothing faith; saving faith is that which works by love and purifies the soul.” –Faith and Works, p. 48–49
The greatest miracle is the sinner changed into a saint. God is willing to perform this miracle in your life; in the life of every sinner who truly repents.
We pray for the miracle of salvation in our personal lives, but are we willing to give up every darling idol? Sure, we know that material goods can be idols, such as houses, cars and lands, but think further. Ask yourself if there is something coming between you and God?
“He ‘that forsaketh not all that he hath,’ says Jesus, ‘cannot be My disciple.’ Whatever shall divert the affections from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. Its golden chain binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 83
We could be like Martha, wanting to have a clean house and be so obsessed with house-keeping that the Word of God lays quietly on the table. This is idolatry. It is good to be cleanly, but anything that causes us to neglect our time with God, is an idol. It is in the hour of worship that the Lord speaks to us. . . and the miracle of a transformed life takes place. You may not experience that miracle if you do not take the time.
When we pray for miracles, we need to be prepared for what the Lord will answer. It is an answer that may hurt, but then will heal. We may bear scars, but be stronger in the end.
When we pray for miracles, are we willing to comply with what the Lord is asking of us?
We can and should pray for miracles. We need the help of the Unseen; help that no human support can give us on this earth. Then we can praise God as we see the impossible made possible. When we are nothing, in Christ we can be everything.
Wendy Eaton (with some assistance and ideas from Sharon Eaton)