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OpEd

BISHOP JOHNSON: Beware of the craze for miracles!

Bishop of West Ankole Diocese, Johnson Twinomujuni (FILE PHOTO)

By Bishop Johnson Twinomujuni

Beloved, Stand warned those who crave for miracles! It is evident that as a result, some have fallen into very deadly and regrettable traps. Others have been abused, fooled, and cheated.

By definition, a miracle is ‘an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and therefore attributed to a divine agency.’

Whereas that is true, we know from the Bible that not all ‘extraordinary events’ are done by God. Satan and/or his agents can perform miracles (Exodus 7:22), and so not every spiritual power behind a miracle is of or from God. That’s why John warns us: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits and see whether they are of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

This means that when an extraordinary event occurs, one of the following is a possibility:

  • It is a genuine intervention of God, in accordance with His will, or
  • It is Satan’s or his agent’s power at work through the performer, usually to deceive or win one’s trust in or allegiance to Satan, or
  • It is the performer’s tricks and stage-managed lies.

Those who crave for miracles in order to prove God’s power, think again. First, the Bible warns us not to put God on test (Luke 4:12). But also, what sense does it make asking one who cannot tell a lie to prove that he can speak the truth?!

Why is it necessary for anyone to ask God to demonstrate that He can do wonders when the entire life is actually a miracle? Look at the creation and its wonders. The sophistication of your body’s functionality, the intricacy of your mind, the unfathomable mysteries of the universe, the inscrutable nature of a language and how babies learn to speak, the baffling varieties and breeds of animals, birds and sea creatures, how human life begins as a microscopic cell, the list goes on…but we still want to see ‘wonders’!

By the way, however much He loves us, God will not change His ultimate purpose. He cannot do anything against His will. When the Bible says that “nothing is impossible with God”, it doesn’t mean that He can do any or everything. He is sovereign, but His might cannot overrule His rationality.

As believers, we should pray, seek and fast. God is good and kind and will hear and answer our prayers, but He does it *in* *accordance* *with* *His* *will*. One can pray all day and night, fast the driest, cry to Him with all passion, but if what one is asking for is outside His will, God will not grant the request just because he/she sought or cried the most! Even when the Bible talks of God “changing His mind”, this should not be taken as going against His will. In such instance, it would still be His will to change His mind.

If you want a miracle so you can live a healthy, wealthy, and challenges free life, you are chasing after the wind! God never intended that we live that kind of life here on earth. Total happiness and joy don’t belong here. Heaven is that place!

By the way, many forget that wealth still comes with a host of other difficulties and challenges, and what we consider good health is normally not as healthy!

Also, difficulties can be a good thing for us! They have their role in our growth and development. God uses them to perfect us. When He wants to refine us, He takes us through fire. When He wants to sharpen us, He does it by rubbing us on the ‘stones’ of life. Who would sharpen a _panga_ by rubbing it on a mattress, or shape an iron without heating it in a furnace?

So at times, it doesn’t make sense to cry to God that we are spared such ‘shaping’, yet we want to be strong, solid and sturdy.

When visiting schools, I tell students to read hard in order to pass, to work, save and invest in order to get money and build houses, buy cars, take care of their kids, etc. This is because there is now a tendency to follow pseudo teachers who tell them, “claim it”! This kind of irrational approach to life is not pleasing to God. Faith is not illogical or ridiculous.

James is right, “Faith without action is dead” (2:26). The old Scottish proverb says it succinctly: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” The meaning is that if wishes could make things happen, then even the most destitute people would have everything they want. God gave us what we need to work and survive. Let us put those tools to use, and He is ready to bless our efforts.

Walk in faith and trust God, as you commit your heart to using what He gave you. In the process, pray for His wisdom, help and blessing.

Desire for miracles is more a sign of unbelief than it is of faith (John 4:48). Our craze for miracles ceases when we believe the truth about God as the almighty, with whom nothing is impossible.

Of course, we ought to pray. We are commanded to pray, and we should freely present our requests to our Heavenly Father. It pleases God to answer our prayers, and in doing so, He even assures us of His love, and presence with us. That strengthens our faith.

Personally, my life has been a journey of prayer and constant seeking, but as Jesus put it, at the end of it all we should say, “May your will, not mine, be done Oh Lord.” It is His will that is good and perfect for us!

Blessings!

Bishop Johnson, WAD.

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The Writer is Bishop of West Ankole Diocese, Church of Uganda

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