BELIEVE IN MIRACLES 7-21-19
Believe in Miracles
July 21, 2019
Almost all Christian denominations believe in the miracles recorded in the Bible. A few do not, but rather believe they are only to be interpreted figuratively. Among those who do believe in literal divine miracles, some believe God still performs miracles among us today, and others do not. I was raised Lutheran, and Lutherans believe that miracles were done at the time of Christ to confirm His identity and teaching, but are no longer necessary. Methodists on the other hand believe in miracles then as well as today, mostly manifested in healings.
I believe that miraculous healings and other manifestations of divine intervention will occur more and more frequently as we near the time of Christ’ return. And on that note I would like to share both a well-publicized recent miracle, as well as a local one, and thereby hopefully inspire greater faith among both doubters and believers alike.
There is an article in the June/July 2019 issue of Charisma magazine, written by the magazine’s founder, Stephen Strang, about the recent movie, “Breakthrough”. A portion of that article reads as follows: “Several years ago, a young man came back to life after being dead for an hour – all because his mother cried out to God in desperate faith. John Smith had been underwater for about 15 minutes, and doctors couldn’t get a pulse for another 45 minutes. But as soon as his mother, Joyce, prayed over him, his heart started beating again. Many call it a modern day resurrection. That miracle went viral on the news, and John’s story was recently made into a major motion picture called ‘Breakthrough’, which at one point held the No. 2 spot at the box office, right after ‘Avengers: Endgame’.” Joyce Smith told Mr. Strang “We have 310 pages of medical records and police reports to back up everything that we have put in and told in our in the book, “Breakthrough”. (You can read more about it, and hear the podcast, at http://joycesmith.charismamag.com). And while this is indeed a true story about an actual modern-day miracle, sadly I’m certain some will still think it is nothing more than Hollywood hype.
And so let’s move on to a miracle in the life of the husband of a current resident of Evenglow. Mary Ellen Peabody has shared with me, and many others, “Gordon’s Story”, in hopes of inspiring us to believe in miracles. She tells how when he was 45 years old, in December of 1966, Gordon suffered from stomach pains which were steadily getting worse. It was discovered that he had gangrene in his small intestine and the surgeons removed several feet of it, but he did not improve. They realized the gangrene was still growing so they repeated the surgery and removed several more feet of his intestine. He then had a third operation a few days later to get his system working again. Just when he was showing signs of recovery, he started bleeding internally, and over a period of time received between 50 and 60 blood transfusions. The doctors decided he could not withstand any further surgery and that there was nothing more they could do. His condition rapidly declined, and on the night of January 11th, 1967, Mary Ellen and family were called to the hospital as Gordon lay unconscious in very critical condition. Mary Ellen held his hand as she prayed for God to please make him well again. Shortly after she left the room, the nurse called to her and excitedly said, “Gordon’s awake and asking for you!” He told his wife about a ‘bright light’ that he saw, even though the room was dark. At that moment, the bleeding that had been going on for weeks stopped, and he was on the road to recovery. He then went on to commit his life to Christ, including going into the ministry. While at seminary, he wrote about his vision in the hospital that night while he was unconscious and at the point of death. This is what he wrote, “I saw a clear starry sky. One light was much larger and brighter than all the rest. It moved toward me. As it moved all the other stars moved to the light and were assimilated within it, and it grew larger and larger and became brighter and brighter. Suddenly I was scared. I feared death. Many wrongs that I had committed in the past flitted through my mind. I felt guilty and very unworthy. I realized that I was in the presence of God. ‘Forgive me Lord’ went through my mind followed by a prayer of surrender, ‘if it be Thy will, then take me’. Instantly it was as if a bolt of lightning hit me in the chest coming from the light. My whole body tingled with a feeling of new life. I could feel this surge of new life – new blood moving from the tips of my fingers to the ends of my toes. A wholeness – peacefulness – a fullness of overflowing encircled my whole being. It was a peacefulness that was unimaginable. My cup runneth over. A new realization hit me. It was Christ! He came to save me! He loved me! He healed me!” Gordon was indeed healed physically and spiritually that night, became a pastor, and served God in a mighty way until his passing over thirty years later.
So what do these two miraculous healings have in common? The same thing that those in our first two Scripture readings have in common (Matthew 8:5-13 and Matthew 15:21-28) – faith. Not necessarily the faith of the one receiving the healing, but real faith in the person pleading for a miracle. The centurion, the Gentile woman, Joyce Smith, and Mary Ellen Peabody all had faith that Jesus indeed has the power to perform a miracle, and knew in their heart that he loves us enough to respond to our cries, as unworthy as we are. Without faith, John Smith would not still be with us. Without faith, Gordon Peabody would not have lived to minister to countless souls and share the love of Christ with them. Their testimonies, and those of many others, are proof that the God we serve is mighty beyond all human understanding, and his love is the strongest force in the universe. So do you believe in miracles? I most certainly do. Amen.
"Miracles" (Newsboys) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKNl0WJB57g
"Miracle" (Unspoken) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yrV9kRr888