Sunday, October 9, 2016

Don’t Look Directly at Miracles

It seems to me that miracles in the Holy Scriptures are different than miracles today. Yes, there are miracles today, but because of our point of view they are seen differently than in the Holy Scriptures. Here’s what I mean. In the Gospel story of the Widow from Nain, a man was raised from the dead by Jesus Christ. This was no ordinary miracle. No miracles are ordinary. This man had died just a few days before and was actually being buried when Jesus came up to him and brought life back to his dead body. The man was the only son of a woman had already lost her husband, a widow.

But I don’t want you to focus your attention on the actual miracle. I don’t want to you dwell upon the fact that the man had been dead a few day when Jesus came to him. I don’t want you to dwell upon the fact that his mother was already a widow. That was the miracle, but not the reason for the miracle.

Too often we go through our life seeking miracles for our family, our friends, our friends’ families, the tragic story down the street we hear about in the news. We ask God to go outside the normal chain of events and heal the sick. There is not thing wrong with healing the sick. Nobody wants to see their loved ones sick and in the hospital near death. But why do we want a miracle? Is it because we think we are special? The widow in this morning’s Gospel was not special. In fact we don’t even know her name. Jesus didn’t bring her son back to life for her sake; He brought him back to life for us.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria reminds us, “But there meets him Christ, the Life and Resurrection, for He is the destroyer of death and of corruption; He it is "in Whom we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28); He it is Who has restored the nature of man to that which it originally was; and has set free our death-fraught flesh from the bonds of death.” Christ didn’t perform the miracle for the widow or the son; He performed the miracle so that everyone watching, and those like us who would read about it for centuries later, could understand that Jesus Christ came to defeat death and to restore what was lost in the Garden of Eden.

When we think of the miracles of God as just a physical healing, then we miss the entire point of Christ’s plan of salvation. He didn’t come so that we would not get sick or die; He came so that sickness and death could no longer control us. Jesus reminded us, “My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” (Luke 11.4) When we look directly at the miracles of God, we see only the physical, lest we forget that every person that God healed with a miracle still eventually died. The true blessing of any miracle is to be reminded of God’s love and plan for our ultimate union with Him in heaven.

Sometimes God brings us relief on earth from our struggles. Sometimes that relief is a miracle; other times it is a point of view through which we can see the struggle with peace. Sometimes it isn’t even for us but for those who have the eyes and faith to see what God is really accomplishing with us. But when it is a miracle, and they do still happen, just don’t look directly at it or you won’t really see what God wants you to see.

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