‘How should we understand miracles in the 21st Century?’
As we come to the end of series I’d like to say something about how I believe that miracles have been incorrectly elevated in the 21stC over other types of healing that occur through medicine, physiotherapy, etc every day of the week. Today, life for many in the developed world is often characterised by excess – one in which people constantly seek the next ‘new thing’. Often the ‘new’ thing that is sought is bigger, brighter and bolder than that which went before it. Sadly, churches can and do become complicit with this sort of consumerism in which miraculous healings take preference over less overt experiences of God’s power with the result that beleivers can be seduced into a belief that some healings are better they others – feeding the modern-day titillation for a ‘supernatural’ experience over everything else.
It is also worth noting that many believers consider miracles to be ‘on tap’ as they have been taught that all they have to do is ‘name it and claim it’ – perhaps a healing for Aunt Dora’s bowel cancer? Yet , rather than being ‘standard’ and ‘commonplace, experience tell us that miracles are actually a rare occurrence. So much so that this process of healing is better considered as…
…the exception and not the rule.
In summary, miraculous healing is not the experience of most believers – in fact very few. True, some believers will have valid testimonies about how God healed them or revealed Himself by some other means. But here, we might question
why do some church leaders fail to encourage their congregations to praise God and give testimony about how they have been healed using antibiotics or physiotherapy or counselling or a pacemaker or whatever with the same degree of enthusiasm that they would if it had been a miracle?
Antibiotics, physio, counselling, pacemaker (et al) are all valid testimonies of God’s activity in the world though there is a tendency that some will always consider these inferior to the miraculous event they beleive should be happening all around the world – but more particularly, in their church.