Can you relate to my friend's experience? Something is wrong and you pray for a breakthrough: a supernatural intervention of God into that situation. You are trusting and believing, looking for God to act miraculously, to turn up and do something. So what happens when there is no apparent supernatural intervention? No miracle. Not even an unusual turn of events. How do you respond to a God of no miracles?
The difficulty in this questioning really comes from the idea that God must act in a certain way: that because He is a supernatural God He must always act supernaturally, rather than through natural means. The flip side of this distorted theological coin is that when nothing miraculous happens it is because you do not have enough faith (or even worse, that God is not powerful enough for your problem).
As I worked through this problem with a friend it led to a deeper understanding of the way He works, as revealed in the Bible.
With all problems, a deeper insight comes from a broader understanding of the Bible's storyline. The Bible is full of miracles and supernatural wonders of God. However, it also shows God's power in working through ordinary circumstances. We can learn from two powerful examples:
Look at Paul in the Book of Acts. He is given a supernatural promise that he will be God's witness in Rome (Acts chapter 23 verse 11). So when he is sailing in a fierce sea storm, subsequently shipwrecked and then bitten by a poisonous snake we see God's supernatural intervention to save Paul (Acts chapter 27). However, before he sailed we see the same God using ordinary circumstances of rumours of an assassination attempt, bribery requests, court appearances and extra time in jail as all part of God's plan to use Paul to witness to Jesus. God worked both supernaturally and through natural processes (including human corruption) for the same end goal.
The hidden miracle
Examine the mysterious book of Esther, a book that does not even mention the name of God at all! Yet the Jews treasure it as a deep witness of a supernatural God working through every stage of every event. As Jewish commentator Vilna Gaon, explains, "But in every verse it discusses the great miracle. However, this miracle was in a hidden form, occurring through apparently natural processes, not like the Exodus from Egypt, which openly revealed the might of God."
Esther is about the salvation of the Jewish people, and hence saving the Jewish line from which the true Saviour, Jesus is birthed. Esther says in chapter 8 verse 17 that after this hidden miracle, "In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them." That is, God is praised by using the natural actions of Esther as much as when He intervenes miraculously. The whole book is witness to a God using natural situations to produce a "hidden" miracle.
Our lives are a witness to Jesus' goodness. As I reflected on my friends challenges I could see that this goodness can be seen equally in the natural situations, which God controls, as much as His supernatural interventions. The take-home of this journey is that even the daily hidden miracles you experience point to God's grace and love.
Courtesy of Press Service International