Why did I believe so firmly in the stability of my chair that it didn’t even occur to me to check it before I sat down to type? Is that the same as faith? It is possible to believe in the authority of the Word of God with the same certainty we exercise when we deal with the objects of our everyday experience? I would say that yes, it is possible to have such faith in God’s Word, but with one caveat: we must first experience the truth of God’s Word.
The mainstream media bombard us with a very mixed message. On one hand, they accustom us to sorcery through entertainment, and on the other, they tell us that the supernatural world does not exist or does not interact with ours, on the authority of “science” and all things serious. All areas of academia are expected to conform to the scientific dogma that God does not exist or that, if He does, He cannot act. (And if, somehow, God does act, His actions are not detectable.) Among those who study theology, this belief takes the form of Higher Criticism. (In this view of things, miracles cannot happen, of course.) The evidence from our five senses is often cited as the proof of the veracity of this worldview—in other words, we have not seen the supernatural in action, and therefore it does not exist. But can it honestly be said that people do not witness miracles?
If God’s miracles are not recognized as part of reality by those who maintain the status quo, is it still reasonable to believe in the miracles of the Bible or that Jesus was able to heal the sick miraculously while He was on earth? I argue that the correct response to this question is an unequivocal “yes,” based both on internal evidence from God’s Word and on personal experience.
I’ve been healed in response to prayer many times. The most dramatic event happened during my sophomore year of high school. I was colporteuring (selling books door-to-door) at the time, but it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to walk due to knee injuries. The worst of the injuries had happened the year before—I had dislocated my right knee skiing, almost completely tearing both my ACL and MCL and damaging my meniscus. My right knee hadn’t healed well after the accident, and the condition of both of my knees had been steadily deteriorating for several months.
We always began our afternoons of colporteuring with a brief devotional and prayer, and that day, one of the girls asked God for a miracle. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, and when we were done with our devotional, I hobbled out to our van and hoisted myself up into it with my arms. When we arrived in town, our leader dropped me off, and as soon as I started walking down the sidewalk, I noticed that I was almost walking without pain—the only discomfort I felt at all was a twinge in my right patellar ligament. I asked God if He could take that pain away too, and it vanished immediately, confirming to me that my new ability to walk, rather than hobble, was a direct result of God answering my friend’s prayer for a miracle. Again, this was only one of the times I was miraculously healed in response to prayer.
While such experiences keep me from doubting the existence or creative power of God, just like the Children of Israel who consistently doubted God’s leading even while His presence shielded them from the desert sun, it is not always easy to believe that God is caring for me according to His infinite love and power. In these instances, I find C. S. Lewis’ definition of faith helpful: I choose to believe what I already know is true, rather than what my feelings tell me to believe.
Witnessing miracles is not the only way (or even the most important way) we can experience the truth of God’s Word. I’ve found that studying prophecy, studying nature as a revelation of God, seeing my prayers answered, and seeing God’s care and leading in my life are ways I can experience the truth of God’s Word in tangible, concrete, literal ways. These are avenues that God has left wide open for all who wish to delve in to His Word and seek a relationship with Him.