What happened to all those miracles? If only Jesus was still doing miracles.
Then more people would believe.
Then more people would live for God.
Maybe, like my own family today, you are praying for a miracle, and are thinking that if only it would occur, then you would put more of your trust in God.
It sounds reasonable, but is it true?
I think this statement from Philip Yancey does a great job of explaining the relationship between miracles and faith:
"Yes, Jesus performed miracles —around three dozen, depending on how you count them— but the Gospels actually downplay them. Often Jesus asked those who had seen a miracle not to tell anyone else. Some miracles, such as the Transﬁguration or the raising of a twelve-year-old dead girl, he let only his closest disciples watch, with strict orders to keep things quiet. Though he never denied someone who asked for physical healing, he always turned down requests for a demonstration to amaze the crowds and impress important people. Jesus recognized early on that the excitement generated by miracles did not readily convert into life-changing faith."
When we see a supernatural miracle we either have to say, "That didn’t actually happen. It was a trick...an illusion." Or we have to say, "That really happened!"
And if it really happened, then we have to credit it to someone. How did this happen? Who made it happen? And so, after many of Jesus’ miracles, we find that some people did believe. They saw a man who was born blind healed and able to see. They knew it really happened, and so they attributed it to God.
But we have others who saw the exact same healing, investigated it, knew that it really occurred, knew it happened in connection with Jesus, but would not put their trust in Jesus. Their only option was to call him demon-possessed and attribute the work to Satan. They were basically saying "Jesus, You are doing undisputable miracles of healing people and helping people and even raising people from the dead, but we refuse to believe you are from God, so we have no other option but to call it the work of the devil."
And so even today, if a miracle occurred right in front of us, it doesn't mean that it would definitely lead you or others to more faith in Jesus. Because, let's be honest, miracles actually do still happen today, but perhaps they are not always in the form that you are wanting or requesting at that precise moment. We might be praying for a miracle of physical healing for a family member, but God is crafting miracles of another kind around us, or even within us, through the situation we are facing.
It is tragic when someone sees a God-honoring miracle and they refuse to attribute it to God. What miracles can we still see today? The most common one is that we see people's lives changed by the power of God. We see the hateful become loving, we see the greedy become generous, we see the immoral become pure, we see the liar become honest, we see the downcast become joyful. We see the power of God changing people and we can either attribute it to Him or we can explain it some other way.
And the most important miracle that is still taking place regularly – is the power of resurrection – taking someone who was dead inside and making them alive.
Beth was one of my students, and she was one of the most positive students in my entire ministry. She came to know Jesus as a young teenager and was on fire for God. He brought a tremendous joy into her heart. She had some rough situations she had to endure in her life, she had to "grow up fast" and carry a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, but in the midst of it all, she remained positive, kind, and full of joy.
One of Beth's friends asked her one day (...and Beth, if you read this, please forgive me if I don't get the quotes exactly right, but I'm doing my best from memory of this conversation that occurred more than 10 years ago!) He asked her one day – Beth, why is it that you are always so positive? Even when things aren’t going your way, you are always so kind to everyone else and you always have a smile on your face. How is that possible? And don’t tell me "Jesus."
Beth answered, "Ok." And she began to walk off.
He called to her, "Beth, wait. I asked you a question."
She said, "I know. But you told me not to tell you my one and only answer – because my answer is Jesus."
When we encounter these miracles – even the miracle of Beth having the joy of the Lord in the face of difficulty – we have to make a decision. Her friend had to make a decision – do I believe Beth's answer? Or do I have to say that she is either a liar or confused about the real answer. He had already predetermined that Jesus couldn't be the answer, so when that was her answer, he refused to accept it.
After each miracle or sign of Jesus, people had to make a decision. The miracle you are requesting might not occur. But that doesn't mean that God isn't at work around you. You may just need to open your eyes to how God is crafting a miracle within you through your situation right now.