Monday, December 12, 2016

Signs, Wonders and Shadows

Monday, December 12, 2016
The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people.  And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade.  But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them.  Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women.  As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by.  Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.  Acts 5:12-16(NLT)
I’ve seen some dramatic presentations of the wave of healings that followed the apostles in the early church.  All of them seem to crescendo – they flow from the less-dramatic to a final of bedlam of praise and worship when a little girl is raised from the dead.  I get goose-bumps over this, wanting to join-in with the crowd shouting hosanna
And then my hermeneutical training from seminary kicks-in and I remember that miracles aren’t the focus; the miracles are the sign-posts pointing to the focus.  The miracles, according to many learned ones down through the centuries are authentication signs which put an exclamation point on the claims that Jesus’ death and resurrection are the real deal from heaven; this was Messiah, and now the healing would be for our eternal soul and spirit, not just body.
I like that!  Of course when you’re an introvert like me, there is a certain “safeness” about distancing oneself from physical miracles that puts bodies back together.  After all, what are you going to do to top that at church next week? 
And all that jumping around, raising hands and shouting, well that’s just not my style.  For pity’s sake, I can’t even do the Fox Trot.  I would mess the whole thing up if a miracle happened anything bigger than the 3rd grade Sunday School class’s missing chalk showing up at just the moment when all hope was gone. 
Safe miracles are OK; that stuff in Peter’s shadow…well, that’s another story.
But, as necessary as it is for me to know all the stuff I learned at seminary, there are some things no class in eschatology, pneumatology or Greek prepositions that can open a heart to what God is doing at 7:40 am today.  That is the experiential reality of where God’s desire and your open heart meet.
I first learned that …well, at seminary!  But it wasn’t in a class.  In fact things were going so badly I was ready to quit seminary and go back home.  Then a miracle happened (more than the Sunday School chalk variety), and faith was restored, and we pressed on conjugating Greek verbs.
All that to say this:  you can’t schedule a miracle.  Sometimes it will happen because a prayer was offered.  Sometimes it will occur because the need is so pressing it will kill faith, and God intervenes.  Sometimes it will happen because a child knows God better than you do.  And sometimes a miracle will spring forth in response to the shadow of Peter passing you in a hallway.
Miracles, signs, and wonders are passing events that affect our faith for eternity.  And while you cannot produce miracles simply because you’ve always wanted a new Cadillac SUV, you can respond to what God wants to do in your life.  You can let your heart be open to God’s desire.

For You Today

Here’s a question that deserves a good bit of thought and prayer before you leave the house today:  how will my heart and hands respond when God places a miracle before me?
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

[i] Title image: By Tangopaso (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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