I have personally experienced three miracles in my lifetime. Two miracles are named Andrew and Sarah, my children. Their births were not without incident. With Sarah, I was ordered to bed for the first three months of my pregnancy because my doctor thought I was going to lose her. I was also ordered to bed for the last three months because I developed toxaemia. After twenty-four hours of labour, I had Sarah by emergency C-section, because the doctors thought I was going to have a heart attack. It was a miracle she survived and came out of me with all the necessary parts. It was a miracle I survived! My son’s birth was also not without incident. In my sixth month, I fell and slipped on some ice and developed Placenta Previa (where the placenta tears away from the uterine wall). Once again I was ordered to bed for fear I would lose my baby and once again I had another C-section. The only harm to Andrew was that he was jaundiced at birth. Yes, it was a miracle they both survived and it was a miracle I did too!
The other miracle happened when I was around eight years old. My family and I were camping in New Brunswick in a tent trailer. During the night a fierce storm blew in (we would later learn it was the tail-end of a tornado). I awoke to the screams of my parents and sister, ordering me to hold on to the tent so the top wouldn’t blow off. Water was pouring in from everywhere and my parents were afraid the whole tent trailer was going to lift off the ground and fly away. I did not do what my parents asked. Instead, I snuggled down into my sleeping bag and asked God to “please protect us and keep us safe.” That was it. And within a very short time (in my child’s mind it seemed almost immediate) the winds died down and the rain stopped. Our belongings were soaked, but we were okay. But that was not the miracle. The miracle happened when I stepped outside and saw the destruction that surrounded us. Some cars were turned over, as were trailers. Trees were uprooted, but our tent trailer and one other tent trailer were still standing. That was the day I started to believe God heard little girls when they prayed and my journey to know Him better began.
But are those the kinds of miracles the Bible is talking about in 1 Corinthians 12:10; 28 and 29? How does one clarify a miracle? Are they personal in nature? Subjective? Or are they something we need to see with our own eyes to believe?
There are many miracles, signs, and wonders that Jesus performed that left his disciples shaking in their sandals. He calmed a storm just by telling it to be quiet (Mark 4:35-41). He walked on water (Matthew 14:22-33). He fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21) and he did it again with seven loaves of bread and a few fish (Matthew 15:32-38). He raised people from the dead (Luke 8:49-56; John 11) and of course he healed thousands of diseases and cast out evil spirits. But when Jesus rose to heaven, did he take that power with Him? Did he gift it through the Holy Spirit to His Apostles only, or is it still available to us today?
2 Corinthians 12:12 says, “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” This verse suggests that signs and wonders were only given to the Apostles in order to verify their authority. And to my knowledge, no one else in history has been able to perform the signs and wonders they did.
So it would seem that the ability for individuals to perform miracles is not something available to us today. But that doesn’t mean they don’t still happen, for God is still at work in this world. According to author Joel Rosenberg, Muslims are seeing visions of Jesus and dreaming about him and turning their lives over to Him.
“God is moving very powerfully using dreams and visions Muslims are having of the Man in white, of Jesus Himself,” author Joel Rosenberg told CBN recently.
He quoted a 19-page study describing an extraordinary move of God among Muslims.
“From 1960 to 2010, the number of Muslims that have converted to faith in Jesus Christ has grown from fewer than 200,000 to some 10 million people,” Rosenberg told CBN.
So what were the point of miracles, signs & wonders? Jesus’ miracles revealed his divine identity. They confirmed He was the Messiah. The apostle’s miracles confirmed and established their authority in Christ in order to help the early church grow. And today, we can see that miracles do exist and can still happen and often do in places where signs and wonders are needed to confirm belief in Christ. And the wonderful part about that is that these signs are not being performed by Christians themselves, but instead, God is personally revealing Himself in amazing ways!
But should we be looking for signs and wonders? Jesus, in frustration once said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe” (John 4:48). So, seeking signs in order to believe is not a good thing. Believing without a miracle happening is by far the better choice. Take the disciple Thomas for example. He needed to see the miracle of a risen Jesus in order to believe Jesus lived. He refused to accept the reports of his friends, those who had seen Jesus alive, and instead said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). And when Jesus finally did appear to Thomas, what did Jesus say? “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Another reason we should not be chasing after signs and wonders is because of the warning Jesus himself gave, “For false christ's and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). Which convinces me even further that the ability to perform signs and wonders ended with the Apostles.
But miracles still happen today by the hand of God alone and more often than not you will see God show up in the most amazing ways as you walk with Him.
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