Random Blog Clay Feet: May 17, 2008
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Miracles for Launching

Stories of miracles and personally experienced miracles may be only the ground-based apparatus that is designed to launch us into the realm of living a life in joyful flight through the air. The enormous thrill that one can experience in uninhibited, unencumbered flight, soaring and swooping through the air with the new-found ability to see things from a far greater perspective and to rise high above all problems and confusion is the experience that God desires for us to live in as being normal. But fear keeps most of us grounded and satisfied with simply walking around slowly in our extremely limited little world, thinking that this is all there is to life.

The difference between living life limited by our assumptions about the restrictions of gravity stuck on the surface of the land, and living the abundant, thrilling life of soaring flight that enables us to rise above the depressing clouds of doubt and fear into the sunshine of glory and love and true freedom – this difference is analogous to living life trapped in the world's way of thinking and reasoning and heaven's reality of freedom, joy and love.

Too many times I suspect that we believe that our version of Christianity has opened up to us most of the basic insights and experiences that we will ever need to know. Oh, we believe that throughout eternity we will be adding to our database of knowledge, but somehow we often come to think that our understanding of what it means to be a Christian and to live life in righteousness is sometimes pretty much outlined in our thinking now and we become very resistant to anything that challenges our narrow paradigms.

Some of us also tend to hanker toward wanting to see miracles of some kind in our lives, though many times this desire is held in secret. If we are really honest about this I think we would notice that we like to use miracles to justify our insistence that our system of doctrines and standards are the right ones. Of course we then have to rationalize that if other people are experiencing miracles who do not believe like we do that their miracles must likely be counterfeit and are therefore from the enemy. Or we may move toward an attitude of apathy about miracles because of the obvious problems they raise about who's beliefs they are used to justify.

While it is very true that miracles can originate from both God and from His enemy Satan who uses them to deceive many into believing his false ideas, I think we have some other general misconceptions about miracles that tend to confuse and mislead all of us.

It has been observed by many that it seems to be a pattern in the lives of some Christians that early in their experience they sometimes see many more miracles than they do later in their walk with God. This pattern also seems to fit evangelism in certain regions of the world. Whole groups of people sometimes experience many miracles in their midst when missionaries first begin working with them bringing light and truth about God into their darkened cultures. But the more mature and settled they become in living life in the truth it seems that the cutting edge miracles tend to taper off or may be replaced with counterfeit miracles designed to draw them away from the truth. This tends to work most effectively for those who have become addicted to miracles.

Miracles themselves are generally considered to be events, healings and interventions that cannot be explained through natural means and are thus considered supernatural. I certainly believe that miracles are often supernatural, though not always. I also believe that miracles are very much within the bounds of natural laws of nature but laws at are now still beyond our awareness. A thoughtful person will realize that there are still yet many aspects and principles about the physical world that we have yet to know about, and so anything that operates outside of our present understandings but still within the principles we do not yet understand is generally considered a miracle or an unexplained phenomenon.

But what is the purpose of genuine miracles performed by God in our lives? I suppose there may be many answers to that question that could all be correct. But one thing I am sensing is that one of the main reasons for true miracles is to radically challenge our paradigms and stimulate us into viewing God in a totally different light than we have before. In fact, that may be one of the most important reasons for every genuine miracle. That might also help to explain the reasons for counterfeit miraculous events because they will be designed to convey or reinforce false ideas about God to keep us confused and distant from Him.

One way they accomplish this is to feed into our addiction and lust for continuous miraculous signs that we falsely believe will motivate us or others to live righteously. This can be seen in the interaction between Jesus, one of the world's greatest miracle workers, and many in Israel who became more interested in His miracles than in the real message He had come to reveal to them about His Father. Jesus only performed miracles for the purpose of conveying truths about God that had been so buried that people had lost consciousness of them. Their perceptions of God were dark and foreboding and full of fear and intimidation. They saw God as something of a tyrant or as an unconcerned, apathetic onlooker to their suffering and pain Who chose to do nothing to help them. They did not believe God really cared about their hearts, their lives or their problems except maybe to make demands that only seemed to exacerbate their frustrations. Things are not any different today.

Jesus came to smash the world's paradigms about how God feels about us and relates to us. Jesus declared that He was a perfect demonstration of what God was like without any variation. And in that role He entered into a life of reaching out to people's hearts, identifying with their problems and pain and offering a radically different paradigm of God that aroused intense interest. But it also aroused equally intense bitterness, alarm and opposition by everyone who chose to resist His love. He exposed the fallacy of power and control people use as the means of attempting to live in successful relationships with each other. He exposed that most of our thinking and assumptions about life and about God were pretty much completely upside down from what is real. And He used many miracles to effect dramatic changes in the lives of those who chose to believe, even a little bit, in the message He had brought about how God wanted to relate to them.

But fallen human nature is insistent on living life oriented in the externals and so it soon became evident that many were becoming addicted to the emotional rush and excitement of seeing miracles and were desiring that “high” more than they were willing to believe the truth about the God who was performing these miracles. The very things that God was trying to use to launch them into a completely different way of thinking and living – a way of life analogous to flying freely through the air and soaring high above the clouds – these miracles were becoming objects of attention and focus more than the loving Father who was providing these miracles.

God ways are always being subverted by Satan to become means of distorting our picture of God and thus believing lies about Him circulated by the father of lies. Everything that God tries to do or has put into place to reveal the real truth about Him is counterfeited by Satan so subtly as to make these falsehoods look legitimate and to convince us that God is not as good as He claims to be. The counterfeits are designed to appeal to the externalistic focus of our fallen natures and to make false gods out of many of the things God has provided to point us toward Himself. In this way miracles too, can become a kind of false god that we crave and come to worship instead of allowing them to launch us into the air and begin to live a life of trust and faith in the character of God. I believe this may help explain why God tends to use more miracles early in the experience of some Christians and not as many later on.

Consider a glider aircraft that needs to be launched into the air in a very small area too small to accommodate a runway for it to take off on. Suppose that something like a giant rubber band or other such launching apparatus was arranged to aim the glider upward and propel it up away from the earth giving it time and speed to begin to interact with the atmosphere in ways that enabled it to fly.

Now suppose that the glider somehow decides that the launching apparatus is more to be desired than flying freely through the sky. Maybe the glider is afraid of heights or of the clouds that shadow its visibility of the sun. What would happen if the glider decided to stay attached to the launching apparatus and refused to disconnect from it after being launched? Well, it would then look more like inverse bungy-jumping than it would soaring through the air with the greatest of ease. And ultimately the end results would look something very much like death and destruction.

I think we should not be afraid of miracles or be eager to discredit them. At the same time I believe that we need to shift our focus from the immediate pleasure and joy that we experience in either personal miracles experienced or in hearing about the miracles of others and seek to find out the real reason why these miracles were given. Instead of becoming addicted to stories and experiences of the miraculous, we need to learn how to go far past them and live life in the spirit realm with the Spirit of God beneath our wings. We must allow ourselves to be launched into the real truth about the character and feelings of God and enter into the thrill of personal, intimate fellowship with Him in the joy of flying.

So here's a sound-bite for another analogy that might possibly be developed. Are the wings that keep us airborne called faith and hope and is the fuel for our aircraft love?

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)