Many of the people believed in Him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will He do more signs than this man has done?” John 7:31
Miracles can bring confusion. If I am hungry and Jesus miraculously feeds me with a boy’s lunch, does that mean that I’ll never be hungry again? If I am Mary or Martha and I’ve watched Jesus raise my brother, Lazarus, from the dead, does that mean that he will never be sick again? That he won’t die a second time? Many people came to Jesus because of the signs they saw Him perform. They believed in Him and wanted to crown Him king. Yet, they were not prepared to take up their cross and follow Him in the paths of discipleship. When things got hard, they became disillusioned and abandoned Him.
My faith can be that shaky unless I know how to cultivate something deeper, a faith that can’t be shaken by false expectations. When I cry out in my need and see Jesus come through with a miracle so personal and powerful that I declare His glory from the rooftops, I can be lulled into entitlement. I believe He will do that every time. It never occurs to me that the next time, He might answer in a different way. I forget that I am also called to suffer as He did in order to show a world, who also suffers, that God’s presence is the greater miracle. His love and grace sustain no matter how many, or how few, signs and wonders I may see in my lifetime. The real miracle is my new birth, my awaiting destiny, and a relationship with a God who knows my name and draws near to me no matter what.
If many of God’s children were honest today, they would admit to preferring a financial miracle to the presence of Christ. Miracles can appear to have far greater value than the presence of One I can’t see, can’t touch, can’t look in the eye. This is a childish preference. However, that is how we all begin our walk with Jesus but we are to mature past that point.
God loves His children and has promised to meet all their needs. Sometimes it will be in the form of physical bread. Other times, it will be grace to endure hunger. Peter, when crucified upside down for his faith, experienced a Savior who provided for him. Though he didn’t deliver him from martyrdom, he provided Himself as a companion through the experience. Paul, imprisoned many times for his faith, saw deliverance happen two ways. One time, his jail cell sprung open. The next, he was beaten savagely. Would he say that one time Jesus came through, and the next, He didn’t? Hardly. Our spiritual father’s faith was built, not on signs and wonders, but on kingdom realities. The were mature enough in their faith to know that ultimately, it’s not about what happens to us in this world. It’s all about the next. Until I get safely home, Jesus is with me. That is the greatest miracle of all and one I can depend on.
I pray there will be nothing in my life to bring my faith to a crisis of belief. Lord, it’s not about deliverance from pain every time. It’s about grace through the pain. I walk behind You, trusting in Your Father as you did. Amen