Signs and Wonders; January 15, 2023


Acts 8:7-8 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city.

Healing, deliverance, and other miracles do produce great joy, as well as opposition. Crowds gathered to Jesus for precisely this reason, and the Pharisees hated Him for it. “Signs and wonders” are mentioned throughout the Bible, starting with what God did to bring the Jews out of Egypt and continuing throughout the New Testament as well. The whole point of the miraculous, the “supernatural,” is to show people that God isn’t limited to what we can explain in scientific terms. One of the basic tenets of science is repeatability. Some people have tried to reduce deliverance and healing to a system or formula, but all too often that ends up with people trying to control God. That doesn’t work by definition! God even seems to delight in switching things around to confound us. I remember one story of a Christian camp counselor who thought the whole Pentecostal/Char­ismatic movement was fake, and to prove it, in one meeting he called children up who had medical issues and, copying things he’d seen on TV, put his hands on their heads and said, “In Jesus’ name, be healed!” To his great astonishment, many of them were! Obviously, the faith involved was that of the children, and not of the adult. That said, we’re back to the whole issue of trying to control God. Joni Eareckson Tada is a case in point She couldn’t be faulted for lack of faith, but her spinal injury hasn’t been healed. Sometimes God’s answer is, as He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Supernatural manifestations are for the purpose of opening people up to the reality of God, so that they may repent of their unbelief and disobedience and choose to follow Him. Sometimes God does supernatural things as blessings for His children, but He is always more interested in our character than our comfort, as even Paul discovered. We are to expect God to do supernatural things and not be shocked when He does, but we aren’t to try to ground our faith in such manifestations.

I have believed in miracles for a long time, having seen a few up close, but they haven’t occurred at what seemed like “convenient” times or ways. I have prayed for people and seen them healed, but I have prayed for many more who did not seem to be healed. One of the sad events of our ministry here in Omura was a young man who really seemed to be on fire for the Lord, but when his father wasn’t healed of cancer, he threw it all out the window. He didn’t take into account that when his father was diagnosed the doctors said he had six months, but he lived for three years after that. I still pray for the son, and it’s been over 30 years. My own wife has numerous medical issues, and I pray for her frequently. Sometimes I see distinct improvements in the immediate situation, and sometimes not. I am reminded of Joni and Paul! I am not to draw back from praying for healing, deliverance, and other miracles, but I need to submit such prayers fully to the Holy Spirit. I am not to deprive God of glory if He wants to use me in such ministry.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Keep me from drawing back out of a fear of man, of looking foolish. I’m foolish by definition! May I be your agent however You want to use me, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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