It was a short but important conversation last Sunday, “Thank you for being a part of the healing prayer ministry here at St. George’s. A few weeks ago I went to the chapel on Sunday and asked for healing for a friend of mine in Ireland who’d had a severe stroke. She had been unresponsive for over a week when the Rev. Roger Senechal and one of the healing prayer ministers prayed for my friend. That very afternoon I got a call from Ireland saying that my friend had woken up, blinked her eyes and smiled for the first time. They are saying it’s a miracle. It’s such a small thing, but it has given us hope.”
Wow, the power of prayer! It is a privilege for me to pray for others as part of our healing prayer ministry and I enjoy hearing stories of spiritual, emotional, and physical healing. I guess I’d stop short of calling this story a “miracle”, but these events renew us and our gratitude in being able to pray for others.
Author Tim Stafford in Christianity Today points out that there isn’t an exact word like “miracle” in the Bible, instead the more typical word is “sign”. Americans like to think of “miracles” as proof that God is real and powerful. But Stafford suggests that God doesn’t perform miracles to prove His power, instead God does something out of the ordinary to point us in a direction, to give us a “signpost”. I’m often relieved when I see a familiar sign if I think I’m lost, or when I’m getting close to home it reminds me that I’m still travelling in the right direction. That is what God’s signs do for us: they help us when we are lost and confirm when we are following God’s will in our life.
Professor Colin Brown says that “miracles are like warning flags which signal the presence of a different order of reality that is present in the midst of the everyday world” echoing what St. Augustine said centuries ago: “miracles are not violations of natural law but are occasions when God walks unusual paths.”
Jesus didn’t feed the five thousand just to impress people but instead to point them toward the realization that the kingdom of God was breaking in to their every day life. When we see “signs” it helps us to answer questions like, “What is God like?”, and “What is God asking me to do in my life?”
Our role is to always be open for signs of God’s wondrous presence and to pray for them to occur. We are to thank God for His being, but also to bring our needs and the needs of others before Him. No problem is too big or too small for God. And when we see or hear of God’s signs we need to share with others and discern what message God has for us.
When we start intentionally looking for God, we’ll find him everywhere! He delights in walking an unusual path to get our attention and help us on our way.
Blessings, my friend,