Spiritual Gifts – Miracles
The gift of being able to perform or work miracles is easy to understand, but much more difficult to exercise. It should be realised that this is not a gift for the super-spiritual. Like all of the gifts in this passage, the gift of miracles is available to all believers. The only qualification is that we are available for the Holy Spirit to use.
To understand the gift, we need to understand what a miracle is. A miracle can be defined as any situation where God intervenes and changes the normally understood laws of nature. In this sense, healings are in the same category as miracles. Other miracles described in the Bible include Jesus turning water into wine, Jesus walking on the water, Jesus stilling the storm, Peter and Paul and Silas being released from prison, Elijah setting fire to a saturated sacrifice, Elisha floating an axe head, and many more, in both the Old and the New Testaments.
The phrase “signs and wonders” is often used to describe miracles because they are meant to be signs of the Kingdom directing attention to Jesus.
Excluding healing, there are four broad types of miracles:
1. Resurrections- people have been raised from the dead throughout history. In the Bible we have several examples of this, including Jesus Himself. If God is the Lord of life, then we should not be surprised when He turns death to life. Livestock have also been raised form the dead on occasion, particularly in poor communities.
2. Nature miracles- these include walking on water and diversion of disasters. People have been known to order tropical storms such as cyclones to turn away from the coast. John Alley tells of how a potentially disastrous flood in Rockhampton was moderated by the hand of the Lord. Some years ago a huge bushfire in the Pilliga Forest was extinguished by rain that was not predicted in response to prayers.
3. Provision of money and other resources. For over a decade our family drew very little salary, and yet God provided more than enough for us. Those who looked at our finances deemed it was impossible for us to survive. Almost everyone in ministry has a story to tell of a time when they were desperate for money to meet a need, and then the money came in.
It is not only ministry where God provides needs. During the recent long drought, a member of our church who has an agriculture related business stated that God provided just enough business for him to keep going at a time when there should have been no work for him.
4. National and international interventions. At the last Australian election the polls and the conventional wisdom was that the Labor Party, led by someone from the Left wing of the party would win the election. It turned out that the Liberal- National Parties won. The re-elected Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, noted in his acceptance speech, “I have always believed in miracles.”
During the coronavirus pandemic there have been several occasions when public health experts feared an outbreak but it was averted. Recently, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “It was a miracle” that security guards associated with quarantine hotels had not previously been infected and taken the virus out to the community.
Billy Graham in his book “Angels” recounts eye witness stories from the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. According to these accounts, British fighter planes continued to fly and participate in the battle after the pilots had been killed. Some saw a second figure in the cockpit actually flying the plane.
Miracles take many forms, but are always associated with a gift of faith. A miracle takes at least one person who is desperate for God to intervene in a situation that seems hopeless.
Again it should be noted that miracles, by definition, are a gift from God. To the sceptic, they will always appear impossible or subject to other explanations, but to the follower of Jesus “Nothing is impossible with God.”
To learn to walk in miracles, it is necessary to pray. When we lay our heart’s concerns before the Lord, and see prayers answered, then our faith grows to a place where we can believe for the impossible and see God working in every situation.