Friday, May 30, 2014

A Tale of Deliverance

Several years ago, my children and I were returning from a hockey game. We took a winding back road we thought nothing of using, day or night. At a place in the road I call the "commercial curve" -- a slight incline and a curve, reminiscent of the segment in a commercial where the vehicle advertised is emerging from the landscape toward you -- we saw headlights. Not the way you are supposed to see headlights, but headlights that mirrored mine in intensity and placement. Steven, my oldest, was in the front seat, and typical of any mother, my primary cause of panic was for his safety. It was at that point I think I closed my eyes; maybe a prayer went up as well, or simply some sort of internal cry. As we found ourselves on the opposite side of certain gore, as we let out a collective sigh, it was then we began to determine how we came to be in this place.

Intellectual answer: we don't know. Spiritual answer: God, an angel (I don't know how all that angel stuff works in its entirety, but I know they are out there.)

I tell this story because 1) it is my charge to give God the glory, point others toward His greatness, and proclaim all He has done for me (mundane as well as "otherworldly"), and 2) because far too many Christians wish to explain the miracles of the Trinity.

A miracle, by definition is "a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency." Is it possible God initiated Creation and left it up to its own devices? I don't think so, but some do. Is it possible the walls of Jericho fell as the result of an earthquake -- effected by God, but an earthquake nonetheless. I don't think so, but some do. And here's my thought:

If Noah and his family had climbed into that ark (some Christians think this is a poetic illustration and never truly happened, as well), if the disciples had brought Jesus five loaves and two fish, and if those gathered at Pentecost had expected only what science could explain, what would have happened?

Science has never fully and comfortably explained a worldwide flood. If in science we trust, where does that leave the concept of God's power to judge all of mankind? Or the belief that God even has the power to control all of nature? If God is limited by science and its explanations, I guess we'll have to hold off believing until they rewrite the text.

And five loaves, two fish to feed thousands with some left over for the poor? Shall we call this a "miracle of sharing." It was miraculous in the fact that one man could motivate thousands to share selflessly, generously with others. Garbage! Does the text even remotely insinuate this? If God is unable to provide for thousands strictly of His own capability, how can he provide for hundreds of thousands? Millions?

Pentecost. El Niño? Mass hysteria? Or miracle -- a supernatural intervention? An action so permeated with the wisdom and power of God, it cannot be fully comprehended and certainly not explained with finite human knowledge or experience? If this was simply a weather phenomenon, or a case of temporary mental illness, what does that say about the birth of a church, a worldwide organization of believers?

I still shake my head in wonderment of the events on that dark, winding road that night. I am thankful each time I relive the experience. I know some would say my perception was skewed -- a lack of sleep, maybe. My children's testimony can be ruled out completely as they would obediently, infectiously and eagerly corroborate their mother's strange account. And if the scene unfolded just as I tell it, what on earth did the folks in the other vehicle experience?

I believe, "nothing on earth."

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