For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. Matthew 9:21
Hurt people hurt people. We’ve all probably encountered a hurting person who hurt us. Perhaps we’ve even been the one doing the hurting. Being hurt hurts. Even the process to becoming healed of this hurt can hurt. And, because it is an unfamiliar hurt, even this longed for healing can create anxiety in some. This can result in the hurt person blame-shifting, withdrawing, and becoming highly critical. Because they then tend to repel others, this makes helping them really difficult. But it can be done. As Jesus demonstrated time and time again.
And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. Mark 5:25-26
Some people have only ever known hurt and pain. From the youngest age they were the victim. They felt that all they ever deserved was rejection, betrayal, and mocking from those who should have most shown them acceptance, loyalty and affirmation. For these people, wholeness doesn’t exist and is not possible—until they witness it in someone else. Then they see what it can look like. This is what happen to the woman who had been haemorrhaging for twelve years. She had lost all hope. But then she began to hear the almost unbelievable stories of Jesus had done for others, and hope was rekindled. The first step toward wholeness for a broken person is a vision of what the pathway to wholeness looks like. For this broken woman it was getting close to Christ and then reaching out to Him. What she didn’t know was that Christ came near to her and invited her to be made whole.
She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Mark 5:27-29
All hurt people travel with a map. From this map they derive the directions for navigating through their life. They come to certain ‘forks’ in the road they are travelling on which would look like constructive criticism or even a helpful challenge to most people, but their map indicates that these ‘forks in the roads’ are attacks, or rejection, or pain. Their map suggests taking (what they wrongly consider to be) the easy road which can be traversed with offence, anger, and slander. And thus, their hurt grows and becomes a life template for how they respond to people who actually try and help them. The day that Jesus came near was the day this pattern changed for this broken lady. Instead of taking the easy road, she took what she had always considered to be the hard road and went into the crowd (her greatest fear) and encountered Christ there. But Christ made this hard road easy for her. She had always thought that in a crowd she was unseen and unknown. The day she encountered Jesus was the day she realised she was wrong. He had seen all along. He had seen the original abuse that had happened to her as a little girl which had caused the terrible injuries and had led to the humiliating and painful bleeding for twelve years of her life. He had seen the doctors trying but failing with their quackery to heal her brokenness and in the process taking everything she had.
And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. Mark 5:25-26
From the moment that Christ made this woman whole, much more than just her bleeding stopped. Wholeness may begin with a physical healing, but most often it doesn’t — because it starts in a person’s soul where their mind and heart are. This woman would have left from her encounter with Jesus with whole new road map of life. Those things that once caused her to be afraid, no longer did. Those things that she had always interpreted as threats, now looked like open doors. When Jesus asked the question that He already knew the answer to (as He often did), the spotlight was about to shift onto this formally broken woman — which had always invoked this woman’s greatest fears. But now Christ showed her that this moment was an open door for her to testify and to walk into her wholeness for the first time.
And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone out from Him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” Mark 5:30
WHAT WHOLENESS LOOKS LIKE
Whole people travel the same life journey but with a different map. They reach the same fork in the road but instead of their map marking these moments as attacks, rejection, pain, their map indicates growth, opportunity, and love. Their map suggests taking the low road (which always looks like the harder road). This road is traversed by humility, listening, and understanding.
and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives Me, and whoever receives me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” Luke 9:48
Many whole people were once hurt people. But they were blessed to have a glimpse of what wholeness looked like. When they saw it, it exposed their unforgiveness, malice, withdrawal and pride. It somehow revealed to them that each of those things were crippling them. This vision of wholeness encouraged them to use a different life-map. The next fork in the road was the hardest road-fork they had ever faced because they were so used to their fight or flight map that when they read their new map that Christ gave them, its directions included: listening, blessing, teachableness, and even generosity! As a hurt person they had previously become defensive, spiteful and self-justifying, but now their choice to be whole removed these responses from their new map.
¶ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, First Peter 5:6
A whole person still feels pain – although they respond quite differently to a hurt person. A whole person still faces disappointment, disrespect, and disloyalty, yet they take the low road of blessing those who spitefully mistreat them. They hold their tongue – not because they really want to yell at the one standing in their way – but because they have chosen to listen first. Rather than become defensive, they become inquisitive. Although the criticism from another person stings, they treat it as a gift that might help them improve – rather than to let that sting fester into a serious hurt. At other times when someone expresses their displeasure with them they can reasonably assess whether this person’s opinion is what they use to define their identity or worth. In many cases, it will not be and in these instances they may find themselves quietly, but resolutely, disagreeing with their protagonist. And this introduces my final thought on achieving wholeness as a hurt person.
Whole people are neither dependent or independent people. Hurt people need other people. We all hurt from time to time and in those times we need the help of others. But some hurt people react by withdrawing from others and become independent. “I’ll never let anyone close to me again!” they silently vow to themselves. Of course, connecting two hurt people together often results in co-dependency. Hurt people in a co-dependent relationship feel that they both need the other person, and that the other person needs them. A whole person doesn’t allow someone else to become unreasonably dependent upon them. Even a parent knows that their infant child’s dependency upon them is reasonable for a season. A whole child will replicate their parent’s wholeness and grow to become a reliable, dependable, interdependent adult.
The Apostle Paul once lived as a hurt man. He then encountered Christ and became a whole man. He wrote to a people who were once hurt, the Colossians, and described to them the behaviour of hurt people.
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Colossians 3:8-10
He then goes on to describe how whole people live-
¶ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.Colossians 3:12-14
And that’s one of the clearest visions a hurt person can have for what wholeness looks like. The only truly whole Person is the only Person who can truly help a hurt person to become a whole person. Sometimes, because a hurt person is so down and low, all they can do is to reach up to just touch the hem of His presence (Matt. 9:21) which why Christ still heals brokenness in the midst of those already following and adoring Him. Wholeness begins with the simple act of praying to Christ. This then leads to the beginning of their journey to wholeness—a journey that Christ does not leave you to walk alone. This Sunday as we gather to follow and adore Christ, let’s pray that more broken people will experience the wholeness that only Jesus can give.
Something very unique in human history happened part-way through the twentieth century and it has had a devastating impact on local churches all around the world! The concept of ‘family’ went nuclear. A ‘nuclear’ family (dad, mum, and the kids, living in a house with a white picket fence) somehow became regarded as the family. What made this concept of the family so out-of-step with how nearly all cultures for time-immemorial have viewed what a ‘family’ was, is that this twentieth-century Western concept of family completely dismissed the role that grand-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even great-grandparents have always played in the universal understanding of family. But there is one and very significant contributor to the concept of ‘family’ often neglected even by those who love their family!
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. First Timothy 5:4
THE FAMILY-LANGUAGE OF THE BIBLE
Family is so intrinsic to God’s plan for you! It doesn’t matter if you are single, a single-parent, a widow/er, or even an orphan—God’s plan for you is family. You can’t read about God’s plan, the Bible, without realising that it is saturated with family language. God refers to Himself as Someone who is the Ultimate family member.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Matthew 6:9
Not only does God refer to Himself as our Father, Jesus modelled to His followers to call Him Abba (“Daddy”).
And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
WHY GOD’S CONCEPT OF FAMILY GOES BEYOND NUCLEAR
For those who have no family, Christianity is not just “good news”—it’s great news! For the fatherless or single-mother or widow, Christianity reveals that God is The family member they need most.
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. Psalm 68:5
And Jesus is “the friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).
Families were always meant to encompass more than just mum and dad and the kids. As I consider this, I realise that one of the disadvantages that Kim and I had in raising our four children was just how far removed they were from their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Of course there were always the Christmas and significant birthday family gatherings. But even with these rare gatherings, we were still at a disadvantage. Perhaps this is why when Zoe moved to Melbourne to continue her university studies that she quickly connected with her extended family there. A few months ago, she was quite excited to meet one of my uncles and get somewhat acquainted with her second-cousins. These kind of family connections are invaluable for children because they help them to realise that they are connected to something bigger than themselves and that their concept of family needs to enlarged.
God’s concept of what family is meant to be has always gone way beyond just the nuclear concept. This was powerfully brought home to us when Kim and I became more acquainted with some Queensland friends we had had for a few years. Before they were senior pastors, and not long after they had got married, he was a youth pastor in a sizeable church. Even though they deeply wanted to start their own family, they discovered that it wasn’t to be. One day the senior pastor shared with them how the Department of Health and Human Services had to remove a young teenage girl from a dangerously dysfunctional home and had contacted the church for assistance. The senior pastor asked his youth pastor and his wife if they could help with accommodation for a few weeks for this young girl. Since it was only for a few weeks, they agreed. Little did they realise just how messed up this girl was. She was self-centred, rude, inconsiderate, angry, aggressive, and very defiant. It came to a head one night when she got dressed extremely inappropriately and announced that she was going out on the town. What resulted was a turning moment in each of their lives. The youth pastor put his foot down and refused to let her go out. It led to a loud and scrappy confrontation. But the youth pastor stood his ground amidst the screaming and the tears. And at the end of the night, this troubled teen came to realise that there was at least one man on the planet who genuinely cared for her. He became the dad she had never had, and his wife became the mum she really needed. God truly does place the lonely in a home (Ps. 68:6). This young girl went onto to give her life to Christ, seek and receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and go on staff at the church where our friends are now the senior pastors. After she gave her life to Christ, she said to our friends, “I commit my life to serve you!” And she meant it. She ended getting married but told her future husband of her commitment to our pastor friends. He said, “Then so will I!” And on that basis, after they were married they both moved into the house where our friends live. Today, some twenty years later, our friends, who thought they would never have children—let alone grand-children—live in their home with this now mother and husband and their two children (who call them grandpa and grandma!).
THE OFTEN MISSING ELEMENT OF GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF FAMILY
¶ That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what He is building. Ephesians 2:19 MSG
The New Testament intrinsically links the family of blood relative with the family of blood-bought relatives. This is why the most common adjective for any believer in the New Testament is ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ (notice Scriptures such as 1Cor. 1:10, 7:15).
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? James 2:15-16
While I said earlier that Kim and I were at a great disadvantage in raising our four children (because they were so far removed from regular contact with their grandparents and uncles and aunties) we have been more than compensated for this loss by belonging to a strong church family. Each of our children have been the beneficiaries of belonging to a local church family where they have had a community of older folk to interact with. But this benefit has had an ongoing beneficial effect on our children. When each of them have got to that age where they could leave home and live independently, they have immediately sought out a local church community to belong to, because they have a counter-cultural understanding of family.
I heard the story of a youth pastor who struggled to get the children from one particular family to come to youth group. He was deeply impressed with how mature these particular youths were and thought they would make a great contribution to the youth group. He also became puzzled that this family was frequently absent from Sunday worship. When the youth pastor visited their parents, he noticed how incredibly beautiful and tidy their house was. He felt a little intimidated. His own children were less well behaved and organised than these children. As he spoke with the parents and shared his concerns about their irregularity in Sunday worship they responded by saying that they believed it necessary to take time away from church to have “family time” together. The youth pastor thought to himself that perhaps this couple were onto something. He mentally compared his own children with theirs. His children were often loud and boisterous, at times — even unruly — and his home was more often bedlam than this near perfect picture of serenity. The youth pastor left feeling as if these parents were near perfect Christian parents with near perfect children! But what he didn’t know then, but came to realise later, was these parents were unintentionally doing a tremendous dis-service to their children. A few years later when each of these near-perfect children left home to attend College, each of them stopped going to church altogether and ceased identifying as Christians. The youth pastor marvelled at this and felt deeply deeply saddened by it. As it turned out, when his own children grew up and went to College, they immediately connected with a local church (as did nearly all of their friends in that church’s youth group) and became a part of that church family. It seems that these near perfect parents had fallen victim to the narrow and wrong (but all too common among some Christian parents) idea that their nuclear family was the only ‘family’ they and their children needed.
THE LOCAL CHURCH AS A FAMILY
So intrinsic is the concept of the local church as a family, that the New Testament teaches we are each to treat older men with the same respect we would give to our fathers, older women with the same respect we would treat our mothers, and young women in the church with the same respect we would show our sisters.
¶ Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. ¶ Honor widows who are truly widows. First Timothy 5:1-3
When Christians fail to recognise their local church as part of the family that God has placed them in, they miss out — and their church misses out too. With the increasing breakdown of families in our society and the blatant and blithering self-delusional denial by some parents who trick themselves into thinking that their children are not impacted by it, the local church can, should, and will, be the only stable family they ever experience throughout their childhood. But it won’t just be such children who will benefit from this fuller revelation of what family means. We will see those who have gone through the pain of divorce, abandonment, neglect, estrangement, or domestic abuse, also find a solace among their church as their family. Sometimes though, even believers committed to their local church fail to be thankful for how God has connected them into their church family. And perhaps it was this thought that prompted Paul’s great epistle on the church as a family, Colossians, to write-
¶ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15
When Kim and I were married, we moved into a house. We also had a sense that we wouldn’t be living there for very long. We simultaneously had a sense that God was going to send us somewhere on a mission which meant that the house we were in would never really be our home. When we bought the house we now live in, there was a moment when it was transformed from being a house into our home. Homes don’t just happen. They are made. A home can be where one person dwells, a couple dwell, siblings dwell, a parent or parents dwell with their child or children, or even where a group of people dwell perhaps while they complete their university studies. A home is where you can be you and feel safe, secure, and accepted. But a dwelling can only become ‘a home’ when it is made into one and this is where the ABCs of home-making applies.
¶ Even the sparrow finds a home,and the swallow a nest for herself,where she may lay her young,at your altars, O LORD of hosts,my King and my God.Blessed are those who dwell in your house,ever singing your praise! SelahPsalm 84:3-4
HOMES ARE DYNAMIC
When things change we refer to them as being dynamic. When any young couple marries and they eventually move into their new home, the time comes when they long to start their own family. And when a child is welcomed into a home, that home changes. The couple are now parents and they are now presented with increased home-making challenges. They soon discover that a home can only function when everyone who shares it understands three essential things. Thus, their immediate role as parents of their newborn is to begin to teach and demonstrate the ABCs of what makes a home functional. As their child grows, and hopefully even more children are welcomed into their home, their parental role increases in importance.
Homes require a certain attitude for them to be functional. Attitude is about heart. It’s an internal response to external circumstances. For a home to be a home, those who dwell together in it must have a positive, caring, helpful, generous, teachable, humble attitude. A child does not enter the world with these character traits pre-loaded. They must be ‘caught’ then ‘taught’. A child has to learn that even when things don’t go their way, they have to be a person of character with an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude. Every parent knows that when a first child becomes a sibling to a new member of the family, they are prone to developing an attitude of feeling left-out or neglected, and even resenting the arrival of their baby brother of sister.
This is why it is important for every member of the home to have an attitude that willingly serves each other and contributes to the home. This makes meal-time at the dinner table incredibly important. It also makes the contribution of each member at the time to be important as well. Even two or three year olds can put the salt or pepper on the table. As they get older they can set the table, clear the table, help dad wash and dry the dishes, and put the condiments away.
This kind of humble, servant attitude is modelled by Dad and Mum and is soon caught by their children. I’m not suggesting that this is easy or that family members won’t default to resistance to be helpful. But in order for a home to work well, there has to be a heart-felt culture that is sincere and positive.
For a home to be happy there has to be a set of commonly held and correct beliefs. Parents should begin teaching their children about God and His Word from the outset and invite challenges to and questions about these beliefs in a way that demonstrates to their children that these beliefs can sustain scrutiny. Because we now live in a world which mistakenly believes that all ideas are equal, homes must be the place where truth becomes the foundation for ideas and reasons become the grounding for opinions. When parents present their child to the Lord in an act of dedication, a part of the ceremony contains the words “that the child will most naturally come to put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Saviour”. This declaration is built on the home life of the child having their beliefs shaped by the truth about God and His Word.
The kind of conduct needed to build a strong and happy home is built on the foundation of a heart that produces an attitude of love and servanthood, and is grounded in true beliefs. The desire to do right does not come pre-loaded into the heart of a child. This is why rules are needed to shape and inform right conduct. Parents would do well to continually teach the 10 Commandments to their children and show how these are taught in the New Testament. These commandments are basis for the legal systems of all civilised nations and would be at home in any home as well.
THE ABCs OF HOME-MAKING FOR A CHURCH
When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about what to look for in prospective elders, he concluded by stating that they must first have their own homes in order. Apparently Paul regarded the church as being like a home.
for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? First Timothy 3:5
For our church to be a home, we need lots of spiritual ‘mums’ and ‘dads’ who know how to help raise spiritual children. These spiritual mums and dads, just like the Apostle Paul himself, may have never had had the privilege of being a parent in the natural, but they can play a vital role in helping us to Legana a spiritual home for our spiritual children. Within our church-home we also need ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’ who get alongside these new ones and encourage them. We also need spiritual Opas and Omas (Grandfathers and Grandmothers) who can pray incessantly for our young ones in the Lord to grow to maturity. Above all, for our church to be a home in which we regularly welcome new family members and even visitors, we need an attitude shaped by the attitude of Christ, beliefs that are grounded in God’s Word, and conduct that seeks to glorify and reflect God.
if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. First Timothy 3:15
Please join with me in making our church a home where we can say and mean to the many that we will welcome, “Welcome home!”
John Smith in the hospital after his near-death experience from being submerged in icy water at Lake Sainte Louise in 2015
In the Devon Franklin movie, “Breakthrough”, Joyce Smith never doubts that her drowned son would not only come back to life, but—and despite what the doctors all told her—would be completely healed from the brain and lung damage caused by the drowning. It might be easy to assume that it was ‘her faith’ that made her son whole again. I can understand how some might see that. But in the movie itself, which is based on a true story, we see a tender moment where Brian (Joyce’s husband) challenges her hyper-faith notion that she was solely responsible for saving the life of her son. But, it would also be too easy to dismiss the vital role that faith played in this amazing story.
A MIRACULOUS HEALING
What happened to the 14-year old John Smith in January 2015 was miraculous in the truest sense of the word. We often describe the birth of a baby as ‘miraculous’ or when it doesn’t rain on a wedding in winter as ‘miraculous’ when in fact it would be more accurate to describe such events as blessings. A miracle, by definition, is something that could not happen by natural and and ordinary means. In the case of young John Smith, he had already been pronounced as dead by hospital medical staff after 45 minutes of showing no vital signs of life. By the time his mother arrived at the hospital and laid her hands on her son and prayed for “the Spirit of Life to enter him” there was no natural hope of his resuscitation. Doctors told her that there was little chance that his internal organs and particularly his brain had not been irreparably damaged. Thus, when John awoke from his induced coma two days later, and was in near-perfect health, the consulting medical specialist took Joyce aside and told her “This is a miracle.” And he was literally correct.
¶ And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul Acts 19:11
There is another aspect to miracles as well apart from something that could not happen by natural and and ordinary means – and it is actually at the heart of the true definition of a ‘miracle’. A miracle is an extraordinary intervention by God—an act of His grace. This is why there can be no formula to receiving a miracle from God. That’s why our actions — including prayer, fasting, religious devotion can never be the reason that God would give us a miracle (otherwise it would not be grace it would be works).
Does He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Galatians 3:5
THE CONNECTION OF FAITH TO MIRACLES
Word of Faith preachers, such Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer, often describe ‘faith’ as a force or power to be harnessed. Some even go so far as to say that this is how God Himself created the universe and continues to perform miracles. But this is completely contrary to the Scriptures. God did not need to harness any external ‘force’ or ‘power’ to do anything. Everything God did and does is because He is omnipotent (all powerful) not because He has learned to harness the power of faith! But there is a connection between faith and miracles that we see in the Gospels.
Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. Matthew 9:22
Despite what Benny Hinn and Marilyn Hickey and other “Word of Faith” teachers proclaim, faith is not a force which causes God to perform whatever we demand. And neither is faith akin to ‘wishful thinking’ or some kind of ‘blind faith’. Biblical faith is trusting Godand His Word. Miracles in the Bible are nearly always in response to someone praying. It takes faith to ask God to do the impossible. The story is told of one of Alexander the Great’s generals coming to him with a request to help him pay for his daughter’s wedding. Alexander allegedly asked him how much he needed. The general gave him a note with the requested amount on it. Alexander looked at it then gave it to his treasurer with the command “Get it for him!” After the money was given to the general, the treasurer approached Alexander and asked “Why on earth did you give him such a vast sum of money?” Alexander told him, “I was flattered that He thought that I had that much money to spare!” I don’t know if this story has any truth to it, but it does serve to illustrate the message that a request sends to the one asked. When we ask God for our requests in prayer, we are expressing faith in God.
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22
WHEN FAITH IS NEEDED MOST
When life gets difficult — really difficult — and the only way out is an impossible miracle, that’s when you need faith the most. Not faithfor a miracle — but faith that trusts God in those times when He seems absent and everything seems bleak.
¶ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
Real faith asks God for a miracle and trusts Him in the midst of need. This is why each Sunday (in that part of our service when we invite people to receive prayer), we are often called upon to pray for people who need a miracle. In instances where it is a medical issue, we nearly always ask God to heal by miracle or by medicine. Both requests are expressions of faith (trust) in God.
Joyce, John, and Brian Smith
The miracle of John Smith’s return to life and his full recovery, as told in the movie Breakthrough, is the account of a genuine modern-day miracle. A few years ago, Dr. Craig Keener, a theologian, was writing a commentary on The Book of Acts. He wanted to add a brief footnote on “miracles” as recorded in Acts with a modern example demonstrating that God still did miracles today. His quest led him to look for examples of modern-days miracles. What was going to be a footnote in his commentary ended up being a two volume tome called “Miracles” in which he documents several thousand verifiable miracles from around the world which have happened in recent times! Perhaps inspired by this, Lee Strobel wrote a similar book and predictably called it, The Case For Miracles, where he too documented several hundred verifiable miracles from people that he interviewed.
We rejoice for miracle that God gave to John Smith of St. Louis, Missouri. We rejoice with those documented in Professor Craig Keener’s research. We rejoice with those that Lee Strobel interviewed who also received a miracle from God. All of these miracles are an act of God’s grace. But real ‘breakthrough’ faith is the kind of faith while asking God for a miracle, continues to trust and worship Him anyway.