Links Daily Devotional

Do You Believe?

“But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.” (John 6:36, NIV)

When you’re ill, it’s easy to think about miracles. The worse the sickness, the bigger the miracle. Right?

With a tumor inside, many friends have been eager to offer prayer for healing. By this, they typically mean what we might call spontaneous healing, akin to many of the miracles of Jesus. I never resist this prayer. There is a reason Bartimaeus cried out, “Lord Jesus, don’t pass me by… I want to see.” And there is a reason Jesus answered that prayer. If I wake up tomorrow and the doctors tell me the tumor is gone, I will rejoice in the miracle God has wrought.

God is putting us to the one-item test: Do you believe? But I have also thought lately of the number of times I have already been healed. After all, people die of the flu. As a man in his 50s, I have had the flu probably ten times or more, and each time I have recovered. The miracle of creation, which we are often quick to see in the night sky or a snow-covered mountain range, includes the ability of our body to fight off and overcome disease and injury. You break a bone, you wear a cast, a few weeks later you’re back to normal. That too is a miracle.

I think also of the technology that is being used to radiate the tumor in my neck, preparing it for surgery. I am bolted to a table under an individually formed plastic mesh mask. Then intensity-modulated radiation is used to precisely direct the beams down to a millimeter’s accuracy. Doctors, technicians, and team of physicists were all involved in designing this program specifically for me. An atheist might express awe here at the ingenuity of man, but my mind is fixed: no genius possesses an ounce of intellect that was not given to him by God. This technology is another miracle.

Finally, there is the web of providential history that has been woven to provide us support. We might say that some of this—our housing near Stanford, for instance—is a simple “friend of a friend” scenario. But when I start tracing those friendships backward and uncover the convergence of times and places that needed to occur for several generations in order for us to be so blessed in this time and place, the miraculous sovereign work of God overwhelms me.

God clearly works through all kinds of miracles. But why? Isn’t it the spectacular that really gets our attention? Not necessarily. Maybe the saddest story of all Scripture is that immediately after they saw Lazarus the dead man walk out of the tomb and stare them in the face, a number of religious leaders went off to plot Jesus’ death.

No miracle insures belief, but every miracle raises the question. Whether by wonder or by creation or by God-given intellect or by sovereign threads, God is putting us to the one-item test: Do you believe? In sports this question is often posed to mean, “Do you believe something good can happen?” But in life it means this: “Do you believe that what has happened is the work of the one true God?”

This I believe.

Jeff Hopper
April 25, 2016
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