Do you ever wonder if God has changed?
I mean...look at the Bible. Look at the ways He worked.
Parting the Red Sea...Manna from Heaven...Quail...
Delivering David from Enemies...
Rescuing Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego from the fiery furnace and Daniel from the Lions' Den...
Sending fire from heaven at the request of Elijah (the series that I'm currently blogging about)...
What about the New Testament?
Peter and John heal a cripple "In the name of Jesus"...
Paul raises a young man who's fallen from a 3rd story window...
Paul and Silas are beaten and jailed, but sing their lungs out in praise of God...and he shakes the earth and releases them...
There are MANY more examples, but the point is that God SHOWED UP!
He Showed Himself--His presence and His power--on many occasions.
Think of the Life of Jesus--All the miracles of Jesus (granted, this is a special circumstance, because He was the Son of God), but He did say “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.(John 14:12-13)
So it leaves me with a couple of questions:
1st, why are we not seeing these manifestations now?
2nd, has God changed?
We can answer the 2nd one first. The Scripture says "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17), and
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)
So I think it's obvious. God hasn't changed.
Now, it could be that His strategy has changed, or that He's doing something different now.
In fact, when I was in seminary, the teaching was that He had done these great works mostly to establish Himself and His church, and now that the Scriptures are complete and the Church is in place, He's not doing those things anymore.
Frankly, that always seemed like a cop-out.
So, back to question #1: "WHY are we not seeing those manifestations now?"
There may be many reasons...sin...lack of faith...but I think the main reason is "We're not looking for it"; and a corollary, "We're not OPEN to it!"
For many in the Evangelical church, and certainly the 'Mainline denominations', we don't even consider it.
It doesn't even cross our minds that the God of the Bible--who did all those amazing things to bring credence to His Word, to His messengers and to back-up the words of His Son--is still wanting to do these things in our lives, today.
Is it more complex than that? Maybe.
But one thing I know: I do NOT want the reason that He doesn't show Himself in powerful ways to be because I'm not open to Him, or not welcoming to the Holy Spirit. I want to be the conduit of His work in this world--whether miraculous in the technical sense, or simply amazing in the theological sense.
Here's a crazy thought: I believe that God is looking for people who will have FAITH again...who will step out and take this world by storm as His agents of change and messengers again. I believe He wants to 'show Himself' in power.
I'm ready...are you?
Lord God, purify us. Burn off the excess--the garbage in our lives, the distractions--so that we can see and hear you clearly. I want to be one of your vessels in this world, your ambassadors. I want to be one of your conduits of blessing and power. For YOUR glory, Lord, make it so. In the name of JESUS!