Why Don't We See the Miraculous?
I will get back to the preaching and teaching topic in my next post, but I started to reply to a question that Larry Who asked in the comments of my last post, and my reply got so lengthy that I decided to just post it here. Somehow, the comments section of the last post took a turn from talking about preaching and teaching to talking about revival. And in that context, Larry wrote: In other parts of the world, these types of miracles are happening. Why not here?
I can't say for certain, Larry. However, lately, I have been intrigued by the comment that the Scripture makes that Jesus could not do many miracles in a certain region because of the lack of faith there. (Forgive me for not looking it up right now)
My question is: Is there faith in America to the same extent that faith is being exhibited in China, certain nations of Africa, etc.? I believe, and very sadly so, that American Christianity is largely faithless.
I tend to listen to a lot of Christian music (or, to be more accurate, music produced by labels who use the term "Christian"!) and Christian preaching on the radio -- I'm not sure why, because it invariably ends up frustrating me! But one thing that I continue to notice is that we really don't believe God wants to move in our lives in that way. The common thread is that God is probably going to just allow lots of tragedies in our lives, when in reality, we know nothing of true suffering for Christ. When the New Testament talks about suffering for Christ, it's talking about persecution, not getting cancer.
No offense to a well-respected preacher, but when John Piper comes out with the revelation that he has prostate cancer and then tells people that this is God's design (not just that God allowed it, but that God designed it) for his life, who wants to interfere with God's design by praying for miraculous healing?
The New Testament is clear that we can expect to suffer persecution (even from religious leaders) if we take a stand for our faith in Christ. This happens daily in China. And they "get it" there. They understand that it's their privilege to suffer that persecution for Christ. But here in America, we define "suffering" as any kind of hardship in our lives. And we just tell people to ride it out and not to try to thwart God's "design" for our lives.
Sorry for the rant here, but that is really how I respond to Larry's question. I'm not upset at you, Larry, so don't misread the tone of this response. But I do believe that as long as a large percentage of Christians in America continue to hold such a strange view of God (reference the way people explained Hurricane Katrina, or the devastating tsunami in Asia as a direct act of God), we should not then expect to see the miraculous events that other countries see.
I sincerely hope I'm not stepping on too many toes with this. I once wrote a post called "Quit Blaming God!" which garnered a bit of disagreement in the comments section. I realize in retrospect that I probably didn't articulate my point as well as I should have (and probably am not here, either!!), but I still believe that there is a difference in the way we will handle things in our lives between trusting God through any circumstance and believing that God actually designed/caused/wanted this circumstance to happen. Back then, frequent commenter "ded" responded with some very thoughtful replies, basically questioning why it needed to be defined the way I defined it. And I certainly respect my brother's disagreement with me on that. But I guess I'm still pretty convinced that ultimately it does matter. I just can't seem to convince people why ;) hehe
I better quit now! ;) I may be getting myself in too deep.
Until next time,