Miracles are retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.C.S. Lewis
We all have events in our life that are God’s miracles. One miracle in my life was when my husband and I got pregnant. My obstetrician diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) when I was in college, which makes it hard for me to be pregnant. Also, my husband’s test was not that promising. Even though we could not bring the pregnancy into full term. We still considered it as God’s miracle and answer to our prayer, which was if we can get pregnant.
Belief in God’s Miracle
Majority of people are skeptics regarding miracles. This is because we want to understand why miracles happened. But as what St. Augustine said, “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature”. We often take pride in our intellectual knowledge, and sometimes it is hard for us to accept that we do not know everything in the world.
Do you believe that miracles still happen? Do you rely solely on your understanding?
Miracles are unfolding every day before our very eyes. From the sun rising to its setting and how everything works around us. Most of us do not believe that miracles occur, because it connects miracles with a Supreme Being. According to Brian H. Edwards, “Miracles, in both the Old and New Testaments, had only one main purpose, and that was to reveal to reveal God”. And since people do not accept God’s existence, they also will not accept the realities of miracles.
Do you recognize God’s existence? Do you see miracles around you?
Today’s devotional reading is a continuation from the Book of Jonah.
Please, read the previous devotional on the book of Jonah – Anger And Mercy Does Not Go Well Together.
Credibility of Jonah’s Story
Skeptics think that the book of Jonah is a work of fiction. How could it happen that a fish swallowed a man, and the man lived to tell the tale? Some of them even link Jonah’s story to that of Pinocchio’s fairytale. Creatively, relating Pinocchio, a puppet known to lie as evidence by the growing of his nose, to Jonah, who was God’s prophet. See how they twisted the Bible in this aspect?
But the real problem here is not the acceptance that a big fish swallowed Jonah. Rather, the people’s recognition that God is omnipotent and can do everything. We try to imagine God, an infinite being, in our own understanding, which is finite.
The Ten Miracles
According to the commentary of John MacArthur, there are 10 miracles spread out in the book of Jonah. Miracles that showed God’s sovereignty in all situations and His compassion to His creations.
The ten miracles are:
- “the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea,” (Ch. 1:4)
- “the lot fell on Jonah,” (Ch. 1:7)
- “the sea ceased from its raging,” (Ch. 1:15)
- “the Lord appointed a great fish,” (Ch. 1:17)
- “to swallow up Jonah (alive)” (Ch. 1:17)
- “the Lord spoke to the fish… it vomited Jonah out onto the dry land,” (Ch. 2:10)
- “God saw what they did… they turned from their evil way,” (Ch. 3:10)
- “the Lord God appointed a plant,” (Ch. 4:6)
- “God appointed a worm,” (Ch. 4:7)
- “God appointed a scorching east wind,” (Ch. 4:8)
As you can see, these miracles are not always pleasant. But it all works out for the good and under the will of God. Same with our situations, it may seem helpless but we should not loose trust and faith in Jesus that it will work out for our own good.
How do you face calamities and afflictions in your life? Do you trust God, that despite all circumstances, He has control over all?
The Ten Paradoxes
This purpose of this paradox is not to contest the ten miracles, but to strengthen it. As I read the book of Jonah, I had time to reflect on the ironies between Jonah’s actions and attitudes to what is God’s plan.
The ten paradoxes are:
- Jonah declares he fears the Lord God who created heaven and earth (Ch. 1:9), but was still unwilling to follow God’s command for him go to Nineveh
- Jonah offered that the sailors throw him out to the sea (Ch. 1:12) and die, rather than to do God’s will.
- Pagan sailors tried to spare Jonah’s life by not throwing him right away (Ch. 1:13), even if he had suggested it.
- Pagan sailors called to the Lord and feared him (Ch. 1:14,16).
- Pagan people in Nineveh believed the existence of God, fasted, covered themselves with sackcloth, called out to Him, and turned from their evil ways (Ch. 3:5, 8)
- The acts of the Ninevites pleased God, while Jonah was angry (Ch. 4:1).
- Jonah knows that God is forgiving, which was his reason not following the command in the first place (Ch. 4:2).
- Jonah because of his anger that the Ninevites did not perish asked God to take his life (Ch. 4:3).
- Jonah (still angry) went out of the city and waited for what will become of them. God still provided a shade for him to comfort (Ch. 4:6).
- Jonah got mad for the death of the plant that he wanted to die. He cannot understand God’s love for repentant sinners (Ch. 4:8 and ff).
Jonah was clearly not happy on the repentance of the Ninevites. And that it saved them from destruction. We can see how Jonah’s attitude contradicts his faith in God. God calls us to have faith and obedience to Him. Even the pagans sailors and pagan people of Nineveh worshipped and trusted God more than Jonah.
Christians’ Attitudes on Miracles
Every day is a miracle for us and should be thankful for it. In all challenges we face, let us orient ourselves to see God’s working hands. Trusting in Him and relying on His infinite goodness. Jesus died on the cross for you and me. This saving grace is a miracle. For how could God see us worthy of saving, when we have done nothing but sin against Him.
Therefore, let us practice to be grateful, trustworthy, obedience and focus on God’s will in everything we do.
This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
- Do you believe in miracles?
- How do you see miracles in your life?
- Do you find it hard to see minor miracles when you have troubles?
- How do you trust God in your life?
- What are the moments in your life when it was hard to trust God?
Our Father, who is trustworthy. We thank You for the everyday miracles you are showing us. May You continue to guide and enlighten us as we walk with Jesus in our daily life. Like Him, we may obedient to Your commands that we may be partakers of Your miraculous works in this world. We ask the Holy Spirit to guide and help us in trusting and relying on Your goodness.
All these we pray in the miraculous name of Jesus. Amen.