How many miracles have you seen? How many miracles have people told you about?
I can think of a handful of times I've witnessed the merging of the spiritual realm with this physical world, but I could tell you a hundred different stories of miracles and angels and healings that I've heard from others. And I will tell you right now that I believe those stories. From people I know and trust, and from people whose lives line up with what they say about their faith in Christ, I believe in the miracles they tell me about.
But I've noticed that many people don't. This is the age of skepticism. This is the age where scientific proof and physical evidence trump mere word of mouth. Sometimes, this is a good thing. We don't allow just anything we hear fool us into believing... but I think our growing apprehension has robbed us of something so valuable.
People have suggested that up to 2.4 million Israelites left Egypt with Moses. In that case, up to 2.4 million people once saw, with their own eyes, the ten most devastating plagues of all time. 2.4 million people saw a river turn into thick blood. 2.4 million people saw God's hand cover an entire nation with frogs, gnats, and locusts. 2.4 million people saw the livestock of the Egyptians drop dead at Moses' command. 2.4 million people saw the historic hailstorm that destroyed everything, the plague of darkness that lasted for three whole days, and the horribly unbearable boils that broke out on the skin of the Egyptians. 2.4 million people witnessed the deaths of every firstborn son in Egypt in a single night.
These people could not deny the power of God. Even if they had possibly found a way to ignore the history-making plagues of Egypt, there could be no denying the Red Sea. Every Israelite keen on escaping the swords of Pharaoh's men would have had to walk on the dry ground of the Red Sea. They would have seen the Red Sea, with a depth of at least 2,000 meters, split down the middle and open up a pathway. To deny such a miracle, they would have had to be dead. These people saw the hand of God.
As the generations went by, just imagine, for a second, the Israelites telling their children about all these things. Imagine the parents and grandparents gathering the young'uns around them and explaining the incredible story of the Exodus. Imagine how many Israelites would have been able to confirm each other's stories, for they were all eye-witnesses! Imagine if we had such a crowd among us who could all tell us identical stories of such vast miracles. We would never scoff. We would never doubt. We would listen in awe and wonder because of our trust in these people, and because of the alignment of so many stories. We would believe, wouldn't we?
But the Israelites stopped believing. Even though so many had walked on the ground of the Red Sea, they still forgot. Their kids still grew up to be skeptical of their parents' unbelievable tale. They stopped believing. And the miracles continued! Bread appeared on the ground like dew every morning, and God sent quail for food in the evenings. God turned bitter water into pure, sweet liquid. Moses needed only to strike a stone before water gushed out. They followed the physical manifestation of God's presence in a pillar of cloud by day, and fire by night. God descended onto Mount Sinai- that would have been quite difficult to miss! From our perspective, we think that if we had been in their shoes, we would have never denied the Lord. If we had seen a river split in two before our eyes, if we had seen the presence of God on earth, if we had witnessed the ten most horrific plagues of history, we would have never doubted even for a second.
And we shake our heads at the stupidity of nation of Israel. How daft can they be? How short are their memories? Were they all blind, deaf, and dumb? For these eye-witnesses of God's miracles, what excuse could they possibly have for their disbelief?
But then again... what excuse could we possibly have? No, none of us have walked on the ocean floor between walls of water. None of us have seen God's presence in the form of a pillar of cloud or fire. Neither have our parents. Neither have their parents.
But we have something the Israelites did not. It's a collection of sixty-six books, a couple inches thick, that actually outlines God's entire story and plan for humanity. From before the beginning of time to after He stops the clocks, it's all in there. It tells of His wondrous acts and powerful deeds and spoken words... and we need not be priests to read it. It gives us His very words and thoughts. It gives us His instructions and His prophecies. It tells us all about the love that He lavishes on us. And the best part is, anybody can access this storehouse of wisdom and truth.
It is a single, seamless, coherent stockpile of accounts from at least 39 different authors living over a period of 1,500 years! No, our parents cannot tell us about what it was like to walk on the bottom of the Red Sea or to watch Egypt be destroyed by the hailstorm of the millennium, but we can hold in our hands the eyewitness accounts of the very Son of God! We can purchase, for a few dollars, the historically accurate and scientifically supported account of the very creation of the world, the power of God demonstrated in a worldwide flood, the moral standard of the Lord, and the absolute greatest part: His plan for the salvation of mankind.
Just by flipping the pages alone in our rooms, we can read about the forgiveness of mankind. Our God's sacrifice for our souls. The death of God and the triumph over death. The mission for the believers. The purpose of this existence.
Maybe it'd be nice to see the power of God fall from heaven with our own eyes. It still happens. It happens more than we know. The thing is, it's happening before the eyes of the servants of Christ who treat His Word the way it's supposed to treated- like life-giving water. They thirst for it desperately and read it every day. They memorize it. They thank God for it. They daily immerse themselves in this physical summary of His Word. They do not rely on the physical proof or the material manifestation of His power. They expect it. Of course, God can show Himself to anyone He chooses, and He still presents Himself to the unbelievers and the doubters and the skeptical... but it's been my experience that it's in the places where God's servants are fervently obedient and zealous about the Great Commission that He most often shows himself in a visible way. It happens because there's a faith for it.
And while it's these slaves of Christ who experience the miracles and grow more and more passionate and tell others more and more about what God's doing in this age... it's the people with the dusty Bibles who entertain skepticism and hesitation.
So maybe we live in an age and in a part of the world where the natural realm is all we ever see, and we get so used to it that we expect nothing more. But I'm finding that for those who remain faithful, God shows Himself faithful. Because of their faith, they see God, and their faith grows. But for those who lack in faith and make no effort to pursue a stronger belief in Him, the cycle runs in the opposite direction. They don't pick up on the Spiritual workings or the modern day miracles or the daily blessings, and their faith gets weaker and weaker.
That's not a cycle I want to live in. I want to grow in faith and understanding. I don't see so-called "big" miracles every day, but I am starting to hear the voice of God when I read His Word. My mind is somewhat stuck in this material world, but I have a prayer connection to the Divine that could certainly be exercised much more frequently. I want to make my exodus from living a life with God as an afterthought, and enter into a lifestyle where God is Number 1.
Maybe we don't see the miracles because we're simply expecting the Red Sea to part... while God is working somewhere else, completely. The only way we can begin to effectively see His work is if we pursue His heart, plead for His Will, and grow to think more like Christ, Himself.
We act like the Israelites had no reason to doubt God after what they had seen and heard. Then we read our Bibles once a week on Sunday and whisper a word of prayer before a meal and complain that God just isn't doing anything, anymore. The problem isn't Him. The problem is never Him. He's not becoming weaker. He's not becoming more shy. He's not becoming more distant.
We're just becoming more blind... by choice.