The Definition of a Miracle

It’s been another month with no job—and another month with the rent paid on time. We have fretted and squirmed and been very uncomfortable, but God has provided for our needs. And without fail—He has used people.

I once had difficulty labeling anything miraculous unless it was sensational or unexplainable. You know—

A complete stranger calls because, for some reason, he feels he should offer me the perfect job in an amazing location, allowing me to afford my dream home—and it all somehow benefits orphans and poor people at the same time. Or maybe I am about to lose my home and I pray for help. $2568.23 mysteriously shows up in my mailbox that very day. It is the exact amount, down to the cent, of the back payments I owe, plus the price of the costume I couldn’t afford for my heartbroken daughter’s dance recital.

Those would be miracles. Who else but God could accomplish such things? But can I call it a miracle when someone hears of a need and decides to do something about it? Isn’t that just a strained attempt to cram an overspiritualized Christian worldview into a situation that simply involves an unfortunate circumstance and a kind heart?

I have become convinced otherwise.

We are struggling and it is no secret. Average people, who don’t have much extra, have been generous in offering odd jobs and financial gifts to help us get by. Some prayed about it, and felt specifically prompted by the Holy Spirit to help us. Others just gave because they cared and wanted to do what they could.

In both cases, we have witnessed the holy and miraculous. In a world driven by greed and infatuated with personal comfort, this kind of sacrificial generosity is not ‘natural’. It is something precious. It is not motivated by guilt, manipulation, or even a desire to be praised. It is simple “love your neighbor as yourself” and “walk in the Spirit” stuff. I have no doubt that God responds to our prayers and orchestrates timing, but the greater miracle to me is the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in hearts that are pleased to give.

The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘miracle’ as an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. The love we have experienced is extraordinary—and it is a direct result of the activity of the Holy Spirit in yielded hearts. I can say with conviction and integrity that I have seen miracles these last few months.

Sometimes it is humbling and difficult to accept who God uses and how He uses them—yet these things have been beautiful to behold through helpless tears of gratitude.

Lord, may your miraculous power be just as evident in me.


6 thoughts on “The Definition of a Miracle”

  1. I agree that when people truly give in the right spirit it’s a combination of an outpouring of their heart and the influence of the Holy Spirit. I think you understand that even when people give without desire for praise, it will bother them if they find out that the receiver of their gift has been telling everyone how wonderful it is that the Lord blessed them with the gift – especially if the giver is one of those people that it is difficult to accept help from. They might well think that the person is ashamed to say who helped them out.

    1. The fact that someone isn’t looking for praise certainly doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be recognized. I suppose that’s one of those things you have to gauge based on the person and the circumstance. Some people would be mortified to be identified with the gift publicly.
      I think sometimes (and you may already have this in mind) well-intentioned believers pretend there was no human will involved in a blessing at all in order emphasize the supernatural. It comes off forced – and it is unnecessary. The miracle of a partnership between a person and God in order to bless another is amazing enough all on its own!

    2. It just occurred to me that you may also be thinking of situations when the giver’s motives really had nothing to do with an attempt to obey God or be led by the Spirit – someone who just saw a need or wanted to be generous.

      Any selfless generosity does ultimately have to do with the image of God within humanity, so I suppose a case could be made… 🙂 But I wasn’t going there.

      I have in mind here situations where the intentional partnership is obvious.

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