The Curious Nature of Miracles

October 22nd, 2007 • Category: Book of Acts
by Mark Shoup

Today’s scripture: Acts 9:10-19a (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

When I read this passage, the thing that stands out for me is the description of what happened when Ananias laid hands on Saul. “Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored.”

Maybe I find this striking because I grew up in the era of Hollywood special effects and it often takes a big explosion or something creepy like scales to really get my attention. And since the Bible specifically mentions the scales, it must be significant for some reason, right? Otherwise, it would just say something like “his sight was restored” — end of miracle!

But it doesn’t, so we are left wondering what it was all about. I wonder if the scales are meant to represent evil falling away from him as he is baptized into the Holy Spirit? Snakes have scales, and the snake certainly represented evil in the Garden of Eden. Whatever it was, it definitely makes it very clear that something tangible happened, and Saul went from blind to seeing as a result. It also makes it difficult to explain away these occurrences as anything less than a miracle. Nobody is going to be able to say “Saul just stared into the sun and burned his retinas.” Nope, this is clearly a bona fide, supernatural, special-effects-included miracle!

But miracles aren’t always accompanied by pyrotechnics or great fanfare. Often they are quite simple. Have you experienced a miracle in your own life? I have, and I know many others have as well.

I want to tell you about a very simple one that happened to me when I was about 8 years old. It was during the summer and I was supposed to be taking a nap so that my poor mom would have at least one hour of peace and quiet in her hectic day. As usual, I was far too wound up to nap, so I was laying in my bed, bored to death. I loved to swim, and I decided to pray that God would make it so that I could go swimming that afternoon. It was only a minute or two later that my mom came to my bedroom door and announced that someone had invited us over to their house to go swimming! There was no earthly reason for these people to invite us over on the spur of the moment like that; they weren’t really even friends of the family, only people that went to the same Church as us. I knew immediately, and am still convinced this was nothing less than a miracle, even as mundane as it was.

I think it is important for us to know that God wants us to cast ALL our cares on him, not just the big ones, like getting our sight back. When we involve God in the minutia of our lives, we are drawn closer to God and can more easily hear God’s voice.

Thought for the day: Miracles don’t have to be as exciting as having your vision restored while scales fly off your eyes. Sometimes they are as simple as getting to go swimming. Are you asking God for miracles? Are you believing God can do it?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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