In Acts 9 we read the powerful encounter Saul, as he was known then, found himself in face to face with the one whom he as persecuting. We all know the story of the Damascus experience of Saul’s/Pauls conversion. Of how he was blinded and for three days he rested up neither eating or drinking in a house on Straight Street. How the Lord spoke to a disciple called Ananias who came to Saul, laid his hands on him and his eyes were opened. Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit and began straight-away to preach powerfully in the synagogue.
So bold and powerful was Pauls message that the Jews hatched a plot to kill him. To this end the city gates were watched. Paul on hearing of their plot escaped by being let down in a basket from a house on the city wall. Acts 9:25.
If Paul was expecting a miraculous escape the Lord did not provide one as he experienced when in prison with Silas. As I read this passage the Holy Spirit pressed upon me that we cannot always live out our Christian walk expecting miracles in every crisis that occurs. This does not negate the fact that God is a God of miracles, but rather the lesson is that God is the one who choses when miracles will take place.
I have come to learn that we cannot and should not dictate to God how things should evolve around us. Our human nature has been conditioned by this world to be self-reliant and think for ourselves and extract ourselves from trouble. But when we become Christians we have this misplaced belief that God will work a miracle every time when we need deliverance.
Rather our thoughts should always be focused on the love and goodness of the Father every time. Keep our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith is the exhortation that must be upper most in our minds when difficulties and temptation rest upon us.
In Pauls case he used his God given brain and the resources that were at hand, and with the over sight and watchfulness of God he escaped. God grace saw him to safety. When we call Jesus our Lord and master we need to remember that the servant is not above the master.
I believe if we look for the miraculous all the time we will fail to see the hand of God in our circumstances. The concept and desire for a miracle in fact hinders us from being delivered and often we languish in our circumstances and sin, bitter and with a ‘chip-on-our-shoulder.’ We should rejoice in the Lord whether a miracle or not happens, for if we must boast we should boast in the cross of Christ.
Anything that takes our eyes off the cross, no matter how holy and ‘spiritual’ it is, can become an idol to us, for it comes between us and God our Father, whom we are called to only worship.
I believe this word from the Holy Spirit will increase in importance, as the world as we know it, will begin the crumble and the nations shaken and our faith is tested.
Perhaps the adage of – expect a miracle but do not seek a miracle, is a good principle.