Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Two miracles

Acts 9 tells uf two miracles God performed through Pete: Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, was healed; Tabitha (Dorcas), who had died, was brought back to life. All kinds of questions come to my mind as I read about these miracles.

For example, why don't we see more of this today? Who is involved in this sort of thing?

One fact stands out in these stories -- that people believe in the Lord as a result.
Immediately Aeneas got up. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord
Acts 9.34-35

Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.... This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord

Acts 9.40-42
Of course that's not the only reason the Lord might heal someone, but it's a reason.

So, back to my earlier questions of why we don't see more of this today. Well, one thing to notice is that Luke reports on these two incidents - one in Lydda and one in Joppa - as though they were unusual. These were not everyday occurrences in those days. In a given city you might hear about one.

In our church, I know of one. I know of one in another church too. Not a dead person coming back to life, but in our church there was a man who used canes and braces and had a lot of difficulty walking. A couple of years ago I noticed he was walking easily, without any braces or canes. I later found out from him that someone prayed for him, and that he recovered pretty much instantly.

In both these cases, faith was strengthened for some number of people. These were widely publicized, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say faith was strengthened for a lot of people. And I wonder if part of the reason these things don't happen a lot more today in these United States is our culture of disbelief. Again, strengthened faith isn't necessarily the only reason God might heal someone miraculously, but in a place where that's not going to happen, there's one reason less for God to do it.

What does that mean for any particular case? I sure don't know, but it looks, anecdotally, like you're statistically more likely for a miracle in a community where faith would be awakened or strengthened by a miracle.
posted 6/16

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