Miracles! The Megaphone of God (Part 2)

Foter / Public domain


At times, like with the Patons, I’ve seen God’s handiwork in ways that are beyond explanation—nothing short of miraculous. “Miracles?” you ask. Yes, I’ve seen real bona fide miracles. Let me clarify something here, I’ve often heard people attribute the term miracle very loosely to events that do not qualify. It is not a miracle that “someone looked your way,” or that “it didn’t rain on game day.” A miracle is an event that defies a law of nature, or perhaps uses a law of nature but in a miraculous and unexplainable manner. A true miracle can have no rational explanation. And just like me, many of you can cite times in your lives when you have witnessed an event that defies a law of nature. Maybe you’ve seen a tumor or diagnosed disease vanish overnight; or perhaps you’ve witnessed a happening that can only be explained in a supernatural setting.

One day while studying the miracle of the Red Sea crossing with my high school Bible class at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy, a young lady spoke up and questioned, “Why don’t miracles like that happen today?” Of course my answer was, “They do.” Obviously, no great body of water has divided in recent years, but there have been miracles on a frequent basis just the same, and they weren’t all what some might call small, personal miracles, like tumors vanishing. Some have been enormous and very public. Did you realize that West Point won’t even permit their students to study Israel’s 6 Day War because the events that led to their victory were so impossible there’s no way to explain them? They just ignore that it ever happened.

While most miracles today are not usually as huge as those recorded in the Scripture, they do still happen frequently on an individual level. I could personally share with you about a time when my brother’s nose was obviously broken, bleeding profusely and smashed on his face, and when Mom placed her hand on it and prayed the bleeding stopped suddenly and he was fine; or of the time when my Dad saw through a one-inch thick solid wooden gate to see that my life was in danger and was able to rescue me just before I was trampled by a herd of thirty-three cattle; or of the time when a wicked man who wanted to hurt my sister was throwing his entire body weight against the door of an old decrepit trailer in an attempt to gain entrance—a door that would normally open with the slightest pressure even when locked—yet the door held firm until the authorities arrived. Then there was the time when my sisters were driving in a horrible thunderstorm and found themselves within feet of a head-on collision with a semi when suddenly it vanished, only to later discover they had driven through a tornado that had lifted a semi from the road and set it down a good distance away. Finally, there was the time when a car’s security horn sounded just in time to warn me of danger. I later discovered that this specific car had no such security system. All of these events defied a law of nature or, as in the case of the tornado, used a law of nature but were clearly directed by the hand of God.

Yes, our God, the God who is the mighty and awesome Creator of the universe, does work in mysterious and miraculous ways in the lives of his children. What a comfort to know that, as Christians, we have his guarantee that, whether the times are easy or hard, He is always with us. As seen in the biblical story of the children of Israel trapped on the shore of the Red Sea, or in the more recent account of the Patons surrounded by angry cannibals, or in the lives of one simple pastor’s wife and her family, God has repeatedly proven that his love and protection knows no bounds.

Miracles! The Megaphone of God (Part 1)

manymeez / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Wow! I thought. What an awesome story! Missionaries, cannibals, a terror-filled night, the threat of doom. This adventure had it all! I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation as Mom continued.

Scottish protestant missionaries, John G. Paton and his wife, whose lives were constantly threatened by the natives of the New Hebrides Islands of the South Pacific, were now surrounded by those same angry natives who seemed to be patiently waiting for the perfect moment to storm their house for bloody revenge. How long that night must have seemed. And these weren’t just any natives; they were the cannibals of Tanna. I shuddered as I listened to the Patons’ true story.

John and his wife must have been terrified. To my young mind it just didn’t seem fair. Here this young couple had sacrificed all their worldly possessions and traveled to an island filled with man-eaters to share the message of salvation, yet instead of the natives being grateful for their message of hope, it appeared that . . . dinner was being served. To be eaten by savages! That was more than I could fathom.

Mom continued with the mission story, explaining that when morning arrived and the Patons looked out their window, the natives were gone. Sometime during the night, while the couple was praying for God’s special protection, the natives had disappeared.

How strange! I wondered. Why would these natives, who appeared to be in complete control of the situation, just turn and leave? I was certain that John and his wife must have wondered the same question, and as the story progressed, I discovered that I was right. Exactly one year later, after the chief of Tanna was converted to Christ, John quizzed him on why he and his warriors had not killed them that night. The chief answered with a question. “Who were all those men you had with you there?” John was puzzled. “There were no men there; just my wife and I.” The chief began to argue that he and his warriors had seen many men standing guard—hundreds of big men in shining garments with swords drawn, ready for battle. They seemed to circle the mission station and were so fierce looking that he and his braves were too frightened to attack (Dr. Billy Graham’s 1975 Angels: God’s Secret Agents).

How exciting that moment must have been for the Patons, to discover that God had sent his mighty angelic warriors to surround their home for protection. Their salvation was nothing short of miraculous. I loved these stories! How I wanted that kind of an exciting life; to be a missionary, to be delivered by God in such awesome and supernatural ways. As a child, it seemed like the Patons’ life—a life on the edge with attacks coming from every direction—was one to envy. It never crossed my young mind that living through those extremely difficult situations might not be as fun as they sounded in storybook form.

Now, after being a pastor’s wife for nearly thirty years, I long for a little less excitement. A quiet, restful evening at home without any drama; getting to work in my yard, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, and hearing the noises of God’s creation. Those are the times to cherish. What are not so easy to treasure are the trials of life, the difficult situations that cause us to wonder if we will even survive. Yet scripturally speaking, I must cherish those times as well, for it is when the natives are restless and have surrounded that our God molds us into who He wants us to be.

During our years of ministry, my husband and I have seen hundreds come to Christ for salvation, so as much as I appreciate the peaceful times, I must still affirm that the drama has been worth it all. Lives have been changed for eternity, what more could I ask? Although sometimes I do wonder, if I had known then what I know today and had it all to do over again, would I take the same path? Would I again be willing to live through those terror-filled nights? Would I again be willing to live in the “minister’s fishbowl” with what feels like the entire world staring in, criticizing my family’s every move? Would I again be willing to endure that enemy of all that is righteous who bitterly declares, “We’ve got to take that family down!” Would I . . . ? Would I . . . ? Yet every time I ask myself that question, my answer always comes back the same. Absolutely! After all, how can you compare seventy or eighty years of hardship in this life to our hope of eternity with our Heavenly Father? And that excitement I wished for as a child, well, all I can say to that is, you might want to be careful for what you wish, because you just might get it.

(Introduction to It’s Hard to Drain the Swamp When Yer up to Yer Ears in Alligators!)

Introduction to “Jake and the Heavenly Host”

Jake Book Cover Preview 1“We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for a special weather bulletin. A severe thunderstorm warning alert is now in effect for all of Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince counties. A travel advisory . . .”

“Oh, shoot!” Lieutenant Vance Coolie protested, leaning forward in his ’66 Mustang to switch off the radio. “I haven’t got time for this.” As he did a gust of wind caught the vehicle, nearly forcing it off the road.

“Well, Little Lady,” he said, talking to his car, “Looks like they’re gonna be right this time.”

Suddenly, he noticed a car parked along the side of the road a quarter of a mile ahead. Its hood was open and the emergency lights were flashing. A lovely, olive-complexioned woman stepped out from behind the vehicle, waving her arms for help.

What a horrible time to have car trouble. He pulled up behind the vehicle, turned off his engine, and stepped out. Walking toward the lady he asked, “May I be of some assistance?”

She smiled.

What a beautiful smile, he thought to himself.

“Thud . . .” The trees began swerving and everything grew black. Vance felt his body crumble as he began to lose consciousness.

“Thanks, Shema. You get out of here . . . before you’re seen!” Ishmael leaned over and kissed his cousin on the cheek. “Hurry now . . .”

As she turned to leave, a dark, navy-blue van pulled up beside Vance’s body. “Get him loaded . . . fast. I’ll attach the note.” Sixty seconds later the only evidence that a kidnapping had occurred was the note taped to the Mustang’s steering wheel.

(Introduction to the youth Christian series: The Heavenly Host Series available on http://www.amazon.com)