I recently reflected on how my perspective on miracles has evolved throughout my life. Although I’ve had faith in Jesus since childhood, I often compared myself with those who’d witnessed healings and other dramatic miracles—thinking I’d missed out. I then came across an eye-opening definition of the word miracle: “An event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause.”1 This caused me to reflect further on my past, and I realized that I’ve lived through several events that perfectly fit this definition. Starting with the very beginning.
Victor was a carabinero, or police officer, stationed at the remote Chilean customs compound known as Los Libertadores, high in the Andes on the border with Argentina. Since Victor had received special training in mountain rescue work, he was usually assigned to dangerous areas like this one. He enjoyed the mountains, but missed his family.
Every year, a month or so before Christmas, I used to go to the same office to renew my visa. My visit there was usually made easy by the help of Judy, one of the office staff.
One year, after several minutes of small talk, Judy burst into tears. Her husband’s cancer had returned—he had already had one tumor removed from his liver—and his doctor said he didn’t have long to live. “Thomas is only 42,” said a tearful Judy, “and our two sons are so young!”
Hot air whipped through the open windows as we drove north along a narrow Mexican highway toward Monterrey. There was a stark beauty in the expanses of dry fields on either side of the road, broken only by an occasional tree or house, but the sweltering summer heat and the hum of our van’s motor were beginning to take their toll. My son Shawn and I fought drowsiness. Four fellow volunteers were already asleep in the back of the Volkswagen van. The back highways in Mexico are notoriously narrow, and this long stretch had no lighting or firm shoulders, making night driving even more unsafe than under more “normal” conditions. We were anxious to reach our destination before dark.
Power from God makes possible things that are beyond our human capabilities. This power can manifest itself in many ways: a miraculous healing; an easing of stress and emotional pressure; a change in circumstances that couldn’t be brought about through human effort; insight that transcends earthly wisdom, knowledge, and experience; the capacity to love sacrificially and unconditionally, as God loves us. From simple solutions to outright miracles, all come from a force outside of us. It is the power of God.
Laurita had only been home for a few minutes after visiting me when she realized she needed bread for dinner.
She grabbed her car keys and headed for the store, but as she was closing the door behind her, she heard her phone ring inside the house and went back in to answer it. At the same moment, my home phone rang. It was in another room, so it took me a few rings to get to it. When I answered with “Hello,” so did Laurita. There was a long moment of silence as we each waited for the other to say why she had called. I hadn’t phoned her, I said, and she said she hadn’t phoned me either. I asked where she was, and she said she was at home and everything was okay. Then we both hung up.
It takes only two elements for a miracle to take place: God’s power and our faith. Whenever the faith of some humble believer meets the power of God, a miracle can happen. Genuine faith results in genuine miracles.
Faith that miracles can happen to you begins with faith in the Bible. The Bible is a supernatural book. It has transforming power. Read, study, and absorb it, and your faith will grow. Faith in the Bible creates faith in the miraculous.
Every so often we read or hear about some happening that so completely defies explanation that the people involved are convinced they have been part of a miracle.
For the rest of us, it takes faith to believe those accounts—faith that miracles are possible, as well as faith in those giving the accounts. But faith has its rewards. If we can believe that “impossible” things have happened to others, then perhaps we can believe that they can happen to us too. The French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) called miracles the “lightning strokes of God.” There’s no “perhaps” about a lightning strike, especially to one who is standing on the spot where it hits! Lightning is powerful, and it happens often—about 100 times per second in as many locations around the world. I’m sure that if every miracle were recorded they would far outnumber lightning strikes. What makes me so sure? I’ve yet to be struck by actual lightning, but I’ve experienced many “strokes of God.”