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When I was a kid, I always waited for the Sunday paper to arrive and would dive into it for the comic section where I would find my favorite hero character, the Phantom. He wore a cool outfit, did death-defying acts and always saved the girl. Superheroes have become big business today grossing billions of dollars in movies, cable television, memorabilia and adult graphic novels (today’s vocabulary for comic books). Saturday mornings have become devoted to channel after channel of cartoons and cartoon superheroes.

God the Superhero

Though we don’t speak it aloud, we like to think of our Lord as just such a character. The one who sees through it all, confronts evil, destroys it and saves the day. Perhaps that is why we smile when we read of His cleansing the temple or feeding the five thousand. That’s the Lord we want to follow. That’s the Lord who can do everything. But God is not a comic figure and will not be seen as such.

By His eternal existence, He defies our understanding of Him and cannot be contained by our logic or personal desires. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8,9) Even our childlike imaginings of Him as a superhero do Him a disservice. Many of those in the day of Jesus looked for the signs and proofs of His claim to deity. A desire that to this day falls short of His expectations for us.

But still, we long for the miracles. It is there that we believe that we can call upon the doubting to look and see and so believe. And we have all seen our share of miracles. I have seen more than once the images of cancerous tumors that were no longer there but a few days later. Like you, I have seen the addicted walk away from their obsession to a new life, the disheartened find a new purpose in their marriage and the dying find a peace that passes our understanding.

The problem with miracles is us. We define a miracle by that which we did not expect or an event that supersedes what we see as normal. God is not limited by either our definition or our version of normality. His creation of our physical universe is more than enough to make us stand in awe but the real miracle is that He remains actively engaged in this creation every moment. (John 5:17) What should take us to our knees in worship is that He has made us responsible beings who are patterned in His image for whom He will move heaven and earth for our benefit. (Mark 6:47-51) That He even loves such as us is a miracle in its own right.

There is an unsearchable wisdom to all He has created and in that there is an order and plan that He does not always reveal to us. (Matthew 5:45) We continually stumble upon more of that wisdom and order as science continues to discover all that it does not fully understand. The complexity and simplicity of this world humbles us. God may choose to do that which we deem miraculous but it was not done for our admiration. It was done because it served His will and fit in the order of His plan.

God’s Reason for Miracles

God never used miracles just to impress or cause people to believe in Him. He is not so petty. That realm belongs to the false prophet or preacher. What we have learned about God doing the miraculous is that it is usually connected to faith. (Hebrews 11:29-30) If Jesus performed a miracle, it was in response to faith and not an attempt to create it. (Mark 2:3-5) We marvel at how many times He told others not to spread news of His miracles because that only brought people curious to see a miracle and not a desire to hear His message.

Jesus never did a miracle that was not in keeping with His Father’s mission for sending Him. He never performed a miracle for His own benefit nor treat them as acts of magic. To do so would belittle His Father and the purpose for His coming.

The same should be for us. God is not our superhero. He cannot be reduced to a comic figure. He will complete what He has begun in us and in this world. Now and then we will be graced to see that work take miraculous form but it will be only seen in faith. The greater miracle of this life will be seen in that man or woman who has found faith in the compassionate person of the Lord. Who prefaces any request that appears supernatural with the caveat “If the Lord wills…”

God still performs miracles. He always has. Just not for our amusement or our longing for a superhero.

Michael Hogg is a husband, father and grandfather who is honored to preach, teach and pen a few words about the grace of our LORD for a life better than I deserve.

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Twitter: @Pastorhogg

 

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