Guest post by Joey Cottle
If I were to take a guess, we’d all like to see a miracle. Even the most skeptic atheist among us would like to see God move like he did in the Old Testament or watch Jesus walk on water and raise the dead. The books of Acts describes people being healed by merely touching the shadow of Peter as he walked by them on the street. Seeing that would be mind blowing and so… assuring? Then we would know. There could be no more doubt in our minds that God is with us and for us and is just as real as the Bible claims him to be.
Well, I’ve got some news for you. I’ve seen the miracles. I’ve watched a man whose muscles were wrecked by cerebral palsy stretch out his withered hands and fingers with new life. I’ve personally prayed over a deaf person and they could suddenly hear. I’ve seen the presence of God fall on a room with tongues of men and angels just like it did on an upper room nearly two millennia ago. You’d think I would have seen enough to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that all this believing I was doing actually made sense.
But I still have my moments of doubt and times when I find myself looking heavenward just wondering. Maybe this is all a sham? Maybe I’ve just been kidding myself to feel better.
The truth is that miracles don’t always work to produce faith. I mean, think about the Pharisees. They saw all the miracles that the disciples did, but rather than proclaim Jesus as Lord, they called him a demon and had him martyred under political pretense. Think about the Israelite nation that sat at the foot of a mountain that was literally on fire with the manifest presence of God, but rather than stand in awe and worship, they made a golden calf and started worshipping it with a drunken orgy. I mean, they went from marching through the Red Sea on dry land to an orgy. It was like… a couple weeks at most.
So I think we need to turn our attention to something else.
Not that miracles are bad; they’re incredible. They do change lives and build up faith, but there’s a deeper—dare I say, better—miracle constantly happening that will give us all the assurance we could ever need of God’s presence.
It’s the miracle of new life.
Sounds cheesy, I know, but I can’t get over it. It’s the miracle that takes us from who we were, people addicted to sinning, and makes us into who God wants us to be. Romans 8:11 says “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies…” The very Spirit of God is working inside of you right now to overcome the sin that so easily besets you and shape your character into God’s character.
The power of our testimony isn’t merely in the supernatural acts of healing we get to see from time to time; rather, it’s the simple statement “I was a sinner, but now I’ve been made new.”
Joey Cottle is a pastor and writer from West Michigan where he lives with his wife, Abigail, and two kids, Liv and Levi. He’s passionate about theology, leadership, and a host of other things. Check out his personal blog here.