Miracles can often be difficult to see, never mind believe.
Coming in a package of flesh and blood and surrounded with many circumstantial bits and pieces, the supernatural work of God, no matter how lovely and extraordinary, can often appear to be buried as a treasure in a field of dirt.
This is the reason the Word of God promises His treasures only to those with the right heart. In fact, the wrong heart is guaranteed to remain in the dark as the prophet warned long ago, saying, “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.” (Ez 12:2).
Ouch. Really?… Really.
We live in a mountain top village outside of Jerusalem among other Messianic and Christian Believers. We love it up here, yet we cannot shake off the reality that we dwell among millions of other Israelis who, while living in the heart of a great biblical miracle, the resurrection of the nation of the Israel after a loooooooooooooooong and wretched exile, are nevertheless blind to its proximity and implications.
Sure, sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees and miss the “big picture” because our little minds are overwhelmed by the excess of details and stimuli coming at us. But all too often, and especially when the supernatural work of God is concerned, our minds and hearts are simply too thick, dumb, sin-chocked and occupied with the carnal to be able to detect and appreciate God’s fine handiwork.
It’s a shame. Can you imagine how much praise and thanksgiving are robbed from our lives, never joining the heavenly choirs nor reaching the throne of our Heavenly Father? How many “wows…” never pass across our lips in childlike wonderment at the sight of another miracle? And yet the Lord was super clear and direct when He cautioned us, saying that “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 18:3).
Yes, miracles can be messy and hard to detect, unless you see them through the eyes of faith, hope and love. Consider these few:
THE COMING OF THE CHILD OF PROMISE THROUGH ABRAHAM AND SARAH (Gen 17-21). Talk about a messy family affair that was entirely the result of the frailty and brokenness of men’s hearts as they wrestled with the issues of fear, anxiety, trust, patience and treachery. These human struggles introduced Hagar to the story, and consequently Ishmael, the results of which we are bearing until today by God’s sovereign purpose. Yet, in the middle of this mess, Isaac was born and the promised covenantal line of redemption which will ultimately yield Jesus our Messiah, the Son of God, was effectively launched.
THE SAVING OF THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY (John 8). Do you realize that Jesus didn’t trespass or supersede the Law of Moses (as some say) when He guided this messy procedure to its beautiful conclusion? Jesus never did violate the law; He came to fulfill it! According to the Law, the witnesses are supposed to be the FIRST in the line of executioners and the FIRST to cast the killing stones at the condemned (Deut 17:7). Execution was very personal in God’s society which meant that, if you are the witness in such a serious case, the blood of the accused was literally on your hands and you better be very very sure of your testimony. However, in this messy miracle, supernatural conviction swept through the crowd when Jesus challenged their self-righteousness, saying, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
John writes that “When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.’” The case was literally thrown out of court for lack of witnesses willing to accuse and condemn a guilty person. Why do we love telling this story and remembering this miracle? Because we, who have been awakened to realize our dreadful condition and dire need for help, can identify with the condemned. But it sure was a messy miracle, and risky.
ISRAEL REBORN My grandfather came to Israel 100 years ago, crossing a hostile continent on foot to realize the dream. The march took him an entire year, arriving with barely the clothes on his back and fire in his spirit. There were others like him, drawn to the forsaken, rejected and desolate Land of our Fathers by a supernatural force, coming from all over the world.
From the Diaspora (Jewish dispersion) readying itself for the final birth pain, to the Holocaust that will encompass European Jewry like a deadly Python to choke out our life, it was time for the miracle to begin. But what a messy miracle it was.
Unwelcomed by local minorities, hated by regional Islamist opportunistic bodies, and repeatedly betrayed by England and the Western powers, the returning Hebrews who barely escaped the death camps kept working the miracle. Both the Land and the People were moving through powerful and progressive waves of resurrection as the ancient ruins were literally rebuilt, the national institutions restored after 2,000 years of total void, and the Land entered cycles of cultivation and fruitfulness again. Ezek 36 and 37 are REAL, and they are NOW.
But the miracle is messy. • Did you know that nearly half of the Jewish pioneers who labored to drain and purify the eastern Galilee from its malaria infested swamps perished in the diseased plains? • That about 1% of the young nation’s population was killed in military action during the 1948 War of Independence (6,000 fatalities out of a total population of 600,000)? • That during the last 70 years the State of Israel has had to fight for its survival on average every 10 years? With too many wars to count, the dark “Valley of the Shadow of Death” (Ps 23) seems to be part and parcel of the miracle.
In fact, examining the miraculous patterns of Israel’s national resurrection, it seems that the valley of death IS the very place where miracles keep hatching time and again, from generation to generation, until the ultimate conclusion of the ages come upon us when Jesus returns with the fullness of His Kingdom. Pray that your heart may become a “miracle friendly” heart, and that your spirit will not be burdened by guilt or shame. May we all live to see God’s miracles all around us, and especially the messy, hidden miracles.
And having seen them, know that He is near, calling to us, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Rev 3:20).