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Just dropping by ... Looking for miracles

Yevet Crandell Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 01 November 2021

Recently, the White Mountains in Arizona were in a severe drought. The grass had long since turned brown, and the trees were losing their drooping leaves, even though they were watered by the garden hose almost daily.

The air was dry. Even the dew didn’t sparkle on plants in the morning. Fires decimated acres of forest because the timberland was a parched tinderbox.

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We needed a miracle. Churches in the area designated a day of fasting and prayer on the Fourth of July. The first rain came on the Fourth and drenched rodeo spectators. No one complained but rather sat in the bleachers with umbrellas and plastic bags over their heads. We didn’t stop praying.

July 24 the windows of heaven literally opened, and we received more rain the last week of July than we had received in the last few years combined. The grass came up as if by magic. Formally brown fields became carpets of green. Rivers were filled to overflowing. What a blessing! It was a miracle, and we had prayed for it. We had received a magnificent sign that God really hears and answers our prayers.

Miracles are different from seeking a sign, which Jesus condemned so severely in the Pharisees. A miracle is a byproduct of faith, and a sign is a demand or a foolish request.

I marvel at the blindness of the scribes and Pharisees who took no notice of His great miracles but chose to focus on His indifference to their ultra-strict laws and tried to trap Him with what we now call “gotcha” questions. They often condemned Him for healing on the Sabbath, eating with unwashed hands and spending time with sinners. They demanded that he give them proof of His divine sonship. His answer was always the same. He called them out and identified them for who they were, “hypocrites.” Notice in Matthew 12:38-40 KJV how Jesus deals with sign seekers:

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

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In other words, “Prove to us that you are who you say you are.”

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign …

Jesus was saying, only the wicked ask for faithless proof, and He would not cast his pearls before swine. He would only give the sign that was given to Jonah, a three-day vacation in the belly of a whale.

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Jesus said He would give them a sign, but it would be in His own time. His death and resurrection would be a sign to all mankind. The Pharisees missed the point. They were not seeking answers, they were baiting a trap and ignoring the wonderful miracles, which should have been sign enough.

Jesus healed leprosy, blindness, speech impediments, deafness, cast out devils and raised the dead. Jesus changed water into wine, hushed the raging tempest and walked on water. There was ample proof that He was the son of God, and His followers believed and witnessed more miracles.

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Meanwhile, the scribes and the Pharisees blindly tried to attribute His magnificent power to the devil. Even at the foot of the cross, these spiritually blind religious leaders mocked Him and demanded a sign. You can almost hear the sinister sarcasm and mockery in their words:

And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
—Matthew 27:39-43 KJV

I wonder if our society is not looking more for the “gotcha” evidence than we are for the miracles. We seek reasons to mock and snicker at our neighbor’s faith and to downplay any evidence of a miracle. I am sure there are those who scoffed at our prayers and rejoicing after our miracle in the rain. They said, “It was a coincidence, and it would have rained in torrents anyway.” They mocked and laughed at our so-called simplicity. Science is the supreme authority on miracles. Nothing happens at the word of a man called Jesus. I wonder how far we are from being called an adulterous generation.

Miracles are everywhere! Signs and wonders abound in the scriptures. We don’t need to look further than our own bodies to see the miracles of God. We have eyes that work millions of times better than computers. Our ears can hear and process information in nano seconds. If we are wounded, our bodies heal. These are miracles that cannot be replicated by men. The earth, the oceans and the wonders of far-flung galaxies are evidence that there is a God. Yet man, in his puny wisdom, fabricates theories to deface and taunt the truth of the creation.

Long before Christ was born, the sign of his birth was announced:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
—Isaiah 7:14 KJV

His entire mortal ministry was a miracle. He walked the earth devoting his entire life to blessing others. He opened the eyes of the blind, not just physically but spiritually. He helped others see a new way of life and gave them hope for the future. The sign of Jonah, as He predicted, came to pass. He was crucified and laid in a borrowed tomb. On the third day, He was resurrected. His disciples saw him, touched his hands and feet, and subsequently, willingly gave their lives as a testimony of that truth. Martyrs down through the ages still give their lives defending that truth.

People today find it easy to mock and scoff about Christian faith. Yet, Christians daily go about witnessing unexplained miracles. Diseases are healed through the power of prayer. People walk in newness of life. Addictions are turned into strengths. Depression is taken away and replaced with overwhelming joy of hope. Blind people still receive their sight and the deaf still hear both physically and spiritually. Jesus literally walks with His followers through the perils of life. He still calms the raging storms and fills hearts with peace. Mighty miracles still happen because of faith. Miracles do not occur because someone demands a sign.

When Jesus departed into heaven, He promised that those who believe will have signs follow them. In other words, faithful believers would be the torchbearers of His signs and wonders.

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
—Mark 16:17-18 KJV

I marvel at the wondrous miracles of Jesus. I can’t help but wonder how some can believe so profoundly and witness miracles every day while others seem to carelessly sleep through life mocking things they don’t understand and scoffing because they do not receive the signs they seek. I have concluded that there are two types of people in life: those who seek to possess faith and those who seek to destroy it. Faithless mockers have not learned that life was designed to be a walk-by-faith experience directed by God, not a walk-by-sight experience controlled by man or natural law.

If people pray for rain with enough faith, they will see a miracle. If people demand that God give them a sign, they will see only what they already see – a world where everything is a test tube in an experimental lab. These finite minds will never see the grandeur of God working in His majesty. It takes faith to see a miracle.  end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who writes about faith, family and freedom.

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