- I won’t say whether she received her wish. Yet, I am not here speaking of our subject merely wishing for reciprocity from a love interest or some other mundane desire. Instead, I speak of a grand petitioning of deity for the circumvention of physical laws to satisfy a need; for example, having manna fall from heaven.
Let’s imagine a disconsolate woman; one who has cherished the need for miracles in her life; the granting of which seemed vital for survival at the time of her need.
I won’t say whether she received her wish. Yet, I am not here speaking of our subject merely wishing for reciprocity from a love interest or some other mundane desire. Instead, I speak of a grand petitioning of deity for the circumvention of physical laws to satisfy a need; for example, having manna fall from heaven.
In spite of what logic says, the desire for miracles remains constant. And due to the influence of those whom we trust, we cling to the illusive hope that one day, through fervent belief, miracles will unfold; though nothing - speaking of events contrary to the laws of nature happening - confirms our hope. A lost arm is forever lost, in spite of the sincere prayers of the owner.
On September 11, we watched with horror, as victims escaping the flaming towers, jumped to their doom while flapping their arms as wings. They did not fly; for humans cannot fly. Any boy who has fallen from a tree will confirm this. I gave dreadful examples to make an otherwise worthwhile point; but I gave them to say, that, if miracles were possible - in the narrow sense of the concept - then I cannot imagine - at least in the first example I sited - a more fitting instance for God to have intervened. He did not. In fact, those who leapt while expending faith immensely greater than a mustard seed, perished.
Thirty years ago, a faithful believer in our church, who for decades gave liberally to the church, died in poverty. Yet he had often told me, that, he had given as faithfully, to insure against such an end. He had wished to attain God’s protection from sickness and need. But when calamity struck, he lost faith. I grieved because of his faithless end, for I loved him. Some may blame him, and others may repeat the age old folly that God answers; “Yes”, “no”, or “wait” to human requests. I frown at such sadistic counsel. It dishonors logic, and is not a right rendering of mercy and goodness, God’s attributes.
Where does such contrary evidence lead us, considering our understanding of God? Are miracles real? If so, how do we explain God’s apparent indifference to our distress? Perhaps we should take a fresh look at miracles in light of reality. Perhaps we should see creation as the miracle, which we seek: Our beating hearts, our brain and hands. This marvelous universe, which we behold with equally miraculous eyes, is a wonder.
The birds in flight and the movement of the stars are miracles; also the world in motion and matter expressed through quantum laws. Love is a miracle. And faith in an unseen God is miraculous. Man’s ability to dream, his creativity, his reason, and his intellect expressed through thought and nursed by his ability to decipher the immeasurable expanse of space through equations, are miraculous things.
A baby’s conception and growth are also miracles; though we somehow understand the processes involved. Given the thoughts expressed, is it not likely that existence may very well be the only miraculous possibility? If so, let’s desire wisdom, and stop wishing for the impossible. But if compelled to wish, then let’s desire a grander expression of divinity.
A faithful man may be persuaded to remove an eye in the hope that God could, if He wished, restore it. We can imagine the outcome, even in light of the stupidity of such a suggestion. And if presumptuousness disqualifies the analogy, let’s seek a miracle for that unfortunate man in case he loses the eye through misfortune.
If the eye is restored through the rendering of a traditional understanding of miracles, then I will set aside God’s universe of stupendous improbabilities, and ask Him to make me “Whiter than snow…” But if neither wish is granted, I ask for a full acceptance of my proposition, and that we harness our latent ability; that capacity to abolish necessities through reason and effort. Perhaps we could become the fullest expression of God’s miracle. Indeed, we may become wise through thought, and wealthy through deeds; the least miraculous of outcomes.
The writer is the CEO of Grand Africa Literary Initiative Ltd