The Truly MiraculousJul 25th, 2011 | By Justin Long | | Print This Post |
There is a difference between what is difficult to believe, stupendously improbable–and the miraculous.
The difficult to believe encompasses those things which we, from our own cultural standpoint, find hard to think true. For example, that the church might grow more rapidly in an area where there are some Western missionaries, but not many. Or that an Islamic terrorist might renounce violence and follow Christ. Or that Jesus might be worshiped in a mosque. Things that are difficult to believe aren’t improbable–given the huge numbers of mosques in the world, and the vast missionary “edge” between Christianity and Islam, it’s likely that a Jesus mosque or two–or 200, or whatever–would develop. It’s only that it’s hard for us to conceptualize such a thing.
The stupendously improbable are those things which are statistically unlikely–things we automatically characterize as “impossible,” or perhaps never even think of because of how improbable they are. Like a member of an Islamic royal household coming to faith in Christ. Or putting a million Bibles into China.
Then, finally we have the miraculous. The primary difference between the difficult-to-believe, the stupendously-improbable, and the miraculous, is this–
–the miraculous, apart from God, is impossible.
Not just improbable. Not just hard. But absolutely, positively, impossible.
Like resurrection. Or Jesus appearing to someone in a vision.
If you want to get to the truly miraculous–not just, “Oh, it was so easy to get to work today, it must have been God”–then you have to get beyond the difficult to believe and the stupendously improbable. You have to get into those situations where, if God doesn’t intervene, nothing happens at all.
What’s interesting is that the further along this line you get, the less challenging the lesser places are. When you deal in the stupendously improbable, the difficult becomes less difficult. And when you’ve seen a miracle–the odds of the stupendously improbable just seem a little better.