What have you done for me lately?
This is not a question we should be asking God, but it seems we do. What better explains an inconsistent prayer life? We get excited and thankful when God answers our prayers, certain we will remain connected to our Creator. Then we drift. This comes up, then that. We become too busy, too self-sufficient, too satisfied with life without Him.
We’ve gotten what we want. We don’t have the time or inclination to want what God wants. So we don’t ask. We quit praying.
But, then we need God. Not to accomplish his will, but ours. So we pray.
When I read in Exodus 32 the account of the Israelites worshipping the golden calf they had made, I am astonished at how quickly they forgot all that God had done for them and commanded of them, and how quickly they forgot their promises to obey him. But I shouldn’t be. I sometimes act just like they did.
Now, I haven’t experienced deliverance from slavery because God sent plagues on my enemies. Neither has he led me by a pillar of cloud or fire.
I haven’t witnessed tangible, miraculous events like the Israelites did. Or have I?
Miracles or Providence
Not long ago, I heard a new Christian describe events of her life as miraculous. They didn’t sound miraculous to me, at least not in the sense we normally think of miraculous. Instead they seemed to be instances of Providence. They were improbable circumstances that could not be explained by chance but only by God’s intervention.
But is there really that much difference? The miracles performed in Egypt were obvious. The providential hand of God in the life of Esther was evident only to those aware enough to recognize it.
However, I think the main difference between miracles and providence is frequency, not power. What we usually describe as miracles are events rarely seen that require supernatural intervention and power. Miracles are highly improbable and extraordinary. Providential events, also extraordinary, are often less dramatic and more common. However, they require no less supernatural power.
What could be more powerful than God working together the events and free will choices of us and the people around us (many of which oppose God’s plan) to accomplish His purposes? The Bible, is filled with stories that defy logic, disprove the idea of coincidence and prove God’s providential care of his creation. Yet, when we examine our own lives we discover that God has exhibited this same power.
If we want to avoid idolatry we must do more than recognize God’s demonstrations of power in our lives. We must remember them, rejecting fear and worry. We must pray, believing God will always do what he has promised.
As Christians we have witnessed the miraculous working of God in our lives. If we pray “Thy Will Be Done” and serve God’s interests over our own, we will witness even more.