At one point or another, I’d imagine that all of us long to see the miraculous power of God put on display. Someone that we care about is sick, and we long to see a miracle of healing. A friend has lost a job, and we long to see the Lord open doors and work a miracle of provision. “If only God would act,” we think, “then I’d believe and I’d be able to move forward with deeper trust and greater obedience.” But I wonder…
In this morning’s psalm (Psalm 78:1-39), one of God’s poets is recounting the miracles that God has performed for His people. There’s the crossing of the Red Sea, along with the pillars of cloud and fire that guided them through the wilderness. There’s the miracle of water from the rock and manna in the desert. In so many ways, the Lord had blessed and protected and carried them. But what was their response?
In spite of all this, they kept on sinning;
in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. (Psalm 78:32)
Please understand; I’m not trying to belittle the genuine struggles between faith and doubt that eventually come to us all. The Bible is filled with incredible promises; and when we don’t see those promises being fulfilled in a way that we understand, it makes us wonder what God is up to.
But at the same time, the track record of human history suggests that seeing the miraculous in no way guarantees a response of faith and obedience. And besides; if we only trust in God when His power is put on display in the way that we think is best, is it really trust that we’re showing?
One of my favorite authors tells a story about “the good of not knowing”:
My daughter had applied to college and was desperate to find out if she had gotten into her top choice. It struck me, as we talked, that the “uncertainty period” was a unique opportunity for growth. If she were able to live with confidence and joy even when she did not yet know if she’d get what she hoped for, a kind of strength would be formed in her soul that would never get formed there if she found out the answer right away. There is a good of not knowing.
John Ortberg, God Is Closer than You Think
I pray that we’ll witness God’s miraculous power today. After all, I suspect that He puts it on display more often than we think, if only we have hearts that are ready to perceive it. But even if we don’t, I pray that we can embrace “the good of not knowing” — so that walking by faith (and not by sight) will carry us deeper into the arms of Christ.