I’ve seen the miracles but then again crazy people perform “miracles” all the time. Miracles don’t prove the gospel, that’d be too easy.
I’ve always believed that miracles are gifts. They’re something that’s outside of the person working them, they come upon us, they sneak up on us, they manifest themselves. No amount of formula, positive thinking or lengthy prayers can make them happen.
Miracles are not posessed, they possess us. Most of the satisfying things in life only need a recipient, so too, miracles need recipients open to their possibility, not wonder-working heroes. They’re gifts from the Spirit that claim us as receivers, not something we own, ever. If someone says “behold I have such and such a gift, make room for it,” they’ve misunderstood the purpose of charismatic gifts and miracles. The authority for gifts in our community derives not from specially gifted individuals who can make themselves heroic, but from people willing to join one another in cross-bearing mutual service.
Of course we should make room for one another in mutual submission, in love and hope for the Future of God, but trying to force others to make room for the giftings we feel we have is to miss the point of the gifts. They are not our own, but come to us from the outside for the upbuilding of the church, not our egos.
Most importantly, the gifts and miracles are completely natural in the world we come from
They’re signs, like signposts on the road they’re pointers, but they’re pointers that give themselves to us by claiming us. They’re sign posts that spring up to show us a greater reality we can’t forget. The reason not everyone is healed is because were we a community of the strong only, the weak would be put out from our midst.
A recent example was a caretaker I came across who was attending an ultra-Charismatic church wherein she was told to get off her bi-polar medication to show God she has faith. But I think this misses the point entirely. This woman came to me weeping as I was out with my pastor, we were doing a visit, and this poor caretaker was in tears, having an anxiety attack and ready to fall apart at any moment. This is not life, and this is not what it looks like to make room for the Spirit of life.
While some are healed in this way, it’s a Russian roulette, not faith. It’s a few suicides per single person that’s healed, those are odds I can’t stomach. If you feel you can, be my guest, but I’m not willing to take the chance of losing a single life. Making room for the Spirit of life is very different from taking yourself off medication.
Medication and the Spirit are not opposed. We don’t have to prove our faith to God, it’s after he’s healed that He says to us our faith has made us well. Raising our expectations and trying to live outside our means is not faith, and calling that faith is heretical. That’s not faith, that’s a cultural form of capitalism, that has bankrupted our social life.
We’ve been told to stretch everything, to acquire everything, to live beyond our means in everything, to attempt to be strong in everything, and thus we are shattered people, dragging ourselves from meeting to meeting, from experience to experience.
Miracles belong to the world we come from, and are like advertisements for the already present reign of God they’re like visible secrets, whispers that we see and hear and celebrate. This reading of miracles doesn’t force us to the edge of insanity to prove our faith to God, it relocates the center of Faith as God himself, whose crucified body we have to have the audacity to believe is among us when we take of His bread and His wine. That’s faith. When we are faced with the overwhelming power of a society that pushes us to be more perfect, we have the courage to be broken before God and neighbor, that’s faith.
Miracles are whispers to us here and now that our king isn’t our king. That economics, finance, politics, government, fashion, media are not the rightful kings of the world and Jesus is. Miracles are beautiful foretastes of what will someday be true of all reality, everything will be set right, and for this hope we say Hallelujah.