“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, it is the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
It seemed like a strange coincidence that the day after I set a goal to write a book on 365 devotionals over the next two years on God’s command to “fear not”, the scripture verse in my morning devotion was Matthew 10:31: “Don’t be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows.” It brought to mind two baby birds that had fallen from their nest in our porch three weeks ago and were unable to fly for three days. But they were able to fly away after we prayed for them.
Later that evening, I attended a meditation group practising lectio divina with the passage from Matthew 11:20-24. I was drawn to the word, “miracle.” Over the next few days, a series of encounters primed me to pray for miracles – my brother had experienced sudden deafness in his left ear, a cousin had catheter problems, a friend’s son was admitted to hospital for an unusual medical problem, another friend had depression and a pastor was stricken with cancer.
Problems can be stumbling blocks to weaken our faith or stepping stones to a deeper faith to see the invisible Hand of God holding us in His loving embrace. It dawned on me that problems appearing to be “mission impossible” are actually “miracle incognito.” Miracles are not to prove God’s existence but are the evidence of the invisible Presence of God which is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Miracles reveal God’s amazing grace and inspire wonder and gratitude for God’s loving embrace.
It has been noted that “warfare surrounds the birth of a miracle” for there is a spiritual battle for our hearts and minds. Satan is evil personified and seeks to draw us away from God. Jesus is love personified drawing us to the bosom of our Father’s love. As we seek to draw close to God, we can expect more and not less problems. We will encounter people who will test our patience to grow the fruit of love. We will face suffering and sorrow but God will turn our tears of sorrow into tears of unspeakable joy of being in God’s loving presence. We may hit rock bottom in our lives but then we will discover the Rock of our Salvation and experience the peace that is beyond all human understanding. For the good news is that love always triumph over evil.
Life can be impossible at times especially for some of us in this season of the COVID 19 pandemic. It may appear to be mission impossible to find joy in such times. But it is precisely in such times that our eyes need to be opened to see the miracle incognito of God. It is in such times that we learn to entrust ourselves to God who knows our needs even before we pray for them and to experience the miracle of a calm and quiet mind described by Rob Bell:
“This is calm, grounded, centered, nonreactive living in which we trust that no matter how chaotic or uncertain things are, we will be okay. He’s teaching us to have a quiet mind, to silence the voices that can run wild in our heads.”
We need the bible, God’s S.O.S. – Story Of Salvation – to calm our minds and empower us to transform the mission impossible of living a happy life in a messy world into the miracle incognito of living the joyful life in the kingdom of heaven. The bible is not a book of rules for us to read and master. It is God’s microscope to search our hearts when we read the bible with the intention to let the Holy Spirit transform our minds and master our will.
As I was writing this reflection, I was much encouraged to find 4 verses of “Fear Not” in my reading in one day! Spending time with the bible is not a burdensome chore but the adventure of discovering the gems of God’s promises to recreate the kingdom of heaven from a messy world filled with anxieties and stress.
We can choose to be a slave of Satan who is blind to the burning bushes in the mundane activities of our lives or a soldier of Christ who has eyes opened like the servant of Elisha to see the horses and chariots of fire:
“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord , open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:16-17, NLT).
Albert Einstein wisely observed that there are only two ways to live your life – one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. Without faith it is impossible to see miracles. Faith is rooted in the awareness that God is always with us for Christ is in us. Faith is the evidence of the unseen relationship with God which has been restored and renewed when we are reborn again through faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is the journey to the miraculous life that God wants to give us – the victorious life of faith in Christ and not a life of fear under Satan. So let us feed on the Word of God to grow in faith:
“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16, ESV)