Our church is going through an existential identity crisis and one of the side effects is that we are praying for miracles. More than usual, we are asking God to show up in miraculous ways.
I think it is an important question because the truth is we are all chasing miracles. Every day we get up and there is at least some glimmer of hope we will see something incredible, be a part of something amazing. Of course, sometimes (most times) the hope is buried deep under years of apathy and routine. But it is still there. We want to be awed. We want to be amazed.
Why We Search
As we search for these miracles, a couple of questions arise. The first is what exactly is a miracle, the question of definition mentioned earlier. But before that, there is also another question: why are we searching for miracles?
One reason is because they happen. Miracles are real. We feel it somewhere in our bones. But the deeper reason we search for miracles is because we think they will be a shortcut through all our suffering and confusion.
This introduces a real danger into the hunt. When we think about searching for miracles, we are often pursuing them because we have made an idol out of our circumstances. We believe the lie that one extraordinary circumstance will change everything for the good.
To be fair, it can. It does. Miracles can be a catalyst toward healthy living (physical, emotional, and spiritual). But they are not stand-alone entities. The catalyst is dependent on the follow-up.
We search for miracles because we think they are the secret ingredient in our lives, the one thing we are missing. The definitive proof we need to witness. The occurrence that will eradicate doubt and fear and sorrow. This is dangerous because, if we are not extremely careful, it invites us to make an idol out of miracles.
A Quandary for Miracles
The reason all of this is dangerous is found in our definition of miracles. I think it is more than fair to say we define a miracle as something we don’t see very often. Something rare. We equate newness with Divinity. We think of things like instant healing or someone levitating and the reason they sound miraculous is because they are rare.
Which, when you think about it, is a strange way to define a miracle. There are no measures for whether a thing is good. Or true. Just rare. If it is something we have not seen before, we are amazed.
The quandary comes when we do witness something we haven’t seen before. It is like achieving a dream. After a little bit of time, it loses its newness. If we saw instant healings every day, how long would it take before we no longer considered this a miracle? We would go on chasing something else we haven’t see before?
The key to miracles is truth. And beauty. It sounds lame when we say life is a miracle. But it is pretty bizarre how a baby forms in the womb – we don’t fully understand it. A sunrise has a scientific explanation, but is still jaw dropping. The love that can happen between two humans is pretty incredible.
It sounds cheesy, though, to call these things miracles. We want something new. We want something more. There is a part of us that will never be content and is always searching for more miracles, new miracles.
And really, I think, that is okay. What is not okay is our apathy toward the miracles provided for us every day.
If you want an incredible circumstance that can change your life. Take a breath in and then let it out. There’s one. Every day, our lives are full of incredible circumstances. Invitations to the truth. Awe inspiring beauties. Intimate relationships. And we stroll by them with our head down simply because we are used to them. And because we have a bad definition of a miracle.
Keep searching for miracles. They can change your life. But a miracle is not a new circumstance, a miracle is a true perspective. It can transform and transcend your circumstances.