Healing the blind. Walking on water. Calming the storm. Feeding thousands with a few loaves and fish. Every miracle Jesus performed was for a purpose. There was provision for that specific moment in time. But what if each miracle was also embedded with the promise of future provision…for you?
In Find Your Miracle, New York Times best-selling authors Kerry and Chris Shook take a fresh look at nine of Jesus’s most incredible times of healing and supernatural intervention. The Shooks unpack these moments in modern language to usher you into the pain, desperation, breakthrough, and miracle of each encounter. Plus they reveal a “miracle map” that connects that moment long ago to our needs today for revelation, transformation, and restoration.
Discover the Miracle You’ve Been Looking For
Find Your Miracle is an exploration of nine miracles of Jesus, each filled with meaning, insight, and discovery for all who desperately need a miracle of their own.
Weaving together the biblical narrative with contemporary real-life application, Kerry and Chris Shook arrange these New Testament miracles under four overarching descriptions of Jesus the Miracle Worker: the Healer, the Provider, the Storm Chaser, and the Life Giver.
Rather than running from our overwhelming situations, the Shooks encourage us to remain steady, fully trusting that Jesus stands ready to guide us to the miracle we most need, and possibly least expect.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The Miracle You Need Most
I never have any difficulty believing in miracles since I experienced the miracle of a change in my own heart.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
I believe in miracles.
I believe in the miracles of the Bible, the miracles of Jesus, and, yes, I believe that miracles happen today.
I believe miracles are not just natural occurrences that seem amazing yet have scientific explanations. I believe miracles are, in fact, instances of God entering into His creation, the natural order, to do supernatural things.
And I believe that God’s transformation of a human heart, His hand reaching into a person’s daily existence and turning a life around, is the greatest miracle anyone can experience. It’s a supernatural act called redemption.
So, yes, I believe in miracles.
But I realize many disagree with me. They say, “How can you possibly believe in miracles in our modern scientific age?”
Well, these modern times reflect some interesting and surprising things about people’s attitudes toward miracles.
Today a startling number of people who label themselves Christians don’t believe in supernatural miracles, while many so-called secular people do. Today a new generation of atheists tries to debunk the reality of miracles even as science seems to uncover phenomena that point to a Power beyond. Today many people consider a belief in miracles embarrassing even as those same people deeply long for them.
We seem to have an attraction to the possibility of miracles at the same time we are skeptical about them.
Some pastors, theologians, and churches explain away the miracles of the Bible and dismiss the reality of miracles today. One New Testament professor wrote, “Despite the prominence of miracles in the Gospel traditions, I don’t think historians can show that any of them, including the resurrection, ever happened.” A former bishop in the Episcopal Church has written that the miracles in the Bible cannot “be interpreted . . . as supernatural events.” A contemporary theologian said, “Because I do not accept this way of thinking about the world and God’s relation to the world, I avoid the term ‘miracles.’ ”
These voices are a part of the church that claims the name “Christian” yet tries to rewrite Christianity to exclude the supernatural and deny the existence of miracles, both in biblical times and now. They say what the Bible calls miracles were merely events that amazed people because they were ignorant of the rules of nature and the principles of science. These people preach a different gospel, which isn’t the gospel at all.
This part of the church is literally dying. It’s taken the “beyond” out of the gospel. It’s taken the deity out of Jesus. It’s taken the supernatural out of miracles. It is left with a faith that doesn’t require faith. No wonder its numbers are dwindling. Many people long for what this church has chosen to deny.
It’s a common misperception that most people in America do not believe in miracles. In fact, 79 percent of Americans say they believe miracles happen. You might think the percentage of young people—Millennials— who believe in miracles would drop substantially. Yes, it does drop but by just one point—to 78 percent. People of all ages still believe in miracles. Most of us, regardless of our age, have this inner sense that there must be something more than we can see.
These longings point to the message of the gospel.
The true gospel says we are not merely physical beings but spiritual beings as well. The true gospel reveals a God who fashioned nature and stands above it, a God who is super-nature. The true gospel shows God reaching into our natural world and doing supernatural things. The true gospel reports how Jesus, the Son of God, entered our broken, natural world and walked among us, fully human and fully divine.
The Real Step of Faith
C. S. Lewis talked about some belief systems that acknowledge the presence of God but claim He is distant and apart. Lewis called this by the general term pantheism, but for him it also covered what some might call belief in a spiritual power or deism or Modernism.
In order to believe in miracles, you and I need to believe that God enters into the natural world and acts specifically in a particular life. We need to accept that He’s not just a spiritual power or a universal force or a distant deity but is, in fact, personal and present in our lives today.
To me, this is the real step of faith. Believing there is something more than nature, something beyond science, is the easy part. The hard part is to believe God is personal. So personal that He breaks through the natural order in various ways to make Himself known, to accomplish something supernatural, and, yes, to save us from ourselves.
True Christian faith claims that God became personal. God, who was outside the system, entered into the system Himself. Jesus, who is God in human form, entered creation at a specific moment in time.
Believing this is the real step of faith.
As we look at the miracles of Jesus, we need to remember that this was also a real step of faith for the people who encountered Him in those places and at that time. The wedding guests, the sick and the paralyzed, the crowds who heard Him teach, the fishermen on the Sea of Galilee, the Pharisees who resented Him, the thousands on a hillside who suddenly were supplied with food—each and every one of them had to face these questions: Who is this Jesus? Was this really a miracle? Is this Jesus actually God? And if He is, does that mean God is really here with us?
It is good for us today to step into their shoes because their questions are our questions. For the Jews, who had lived for hundreds of years under a system of law and sacrifices, could they accept this Jesus was Yahweh in person? Could He be the long-awaited Messiah? For Romans and Greeks, who believed in a pantheon of gods and various myths about how they lived in the heavens, was it possible that Jesus was actually the one and only God, walking on earth? For Samaritans and fishermen and others outside the religious and political systems, who was this remarkable Healer? Possibly God Himself?
One particular person, a fisherman, was with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry on earth. This fisherman was at the center of many of the events and was a witness to many of the miracles in Jesus’s life. It’s interesting to me that only after many experiences with Jesus, spanning perhaps most of three years, finally Simon Peter became a true believer:
[Jesus] asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13–16)
Believing that Jesus was a prophet or a magician or a good man or a captivating teacher was easy. Believing that Jesus was the Son of God was the real step of faith.
That’s still true for us today. Through His miracles, one after another, Jesus asks you and me this question: “Who do you say I am?” When John the Baptist sent his followers to inquire of Jesus if He was a prophet or the Messiah, Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” (Matthew 11:4–5). Jesus was saying, “If you need help with the real step of faith, look at the miracles I do.”
You see, the miracles of Jesus have much to say about Jesus. They have much to say about you and me. And they consistently raise the question that exists in between: “Who do you say I am?”
God Still Works Miracles
Tiffany Gilliam received a call from her husband, Shane. Their son, Braedyn, had been in an accident and was in serious condition. Tiffany prayed as she rushed to the hospital. Braedyn remained in the hospital for two more weeks, but he made an inexplicable recovery. Tiffany and Shane now call Braedyn their “miracle boy.”6
Many people say that the miracles of the Bible were real but that miracles no longer happen today. They say that it was a different era, that God doesn’t work miracles in this era. They say that what happened to Braedyn was not really a miracle.
The Bible is clear that after Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles and leaders of the early church performed miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus. Church history is full of accounts of miracles. And today, in this age of science and technology, we hear about remarkable events, such as the story of Braedyn, events that seem impossible and yet actually occurred.
Since the gospel is the story of God, who came to be among us, to be present and personal, then it is as true today as it was two thousand years ago. “God is with us” is the message of miracles, and He is present in our lives right now. So, yes, I believe miracles happen, still, today.
More Than a Miracle
But there are dangers in how some people approach miracles today.
Some people see a miracle around every corner; they claim a miracle in almost every situation in life. But not every unusual occurrence is a miracle; some are just natural circumstances. And some things labeled as miracles are trivial. To say it was a miracle when the underdog team won the World Series or when the watch you lost last spring was suddenly found in the corner of the garage indicates a misunderstanding of what true miracles are. In life we encounter many remarkable events, close calls, and near misses that, in the emotion of the moment, we call miracles. Yet they may just be occurrences within the natural order, not evidence of supernatural intervention.
I do believe God wants us to pray about the little things that bother us, because He cares about every detail of our lives. Just this week I lost my debit card after I had used it at the grocery store. When I got home and couldn’t find it in my wallet or my car, I drove back to the store. I thought maybe I had dropped it in the parking lot when I took my keys out of my pocket. After searching the parking lot and coming up empty, I started to get really frustrated thinking about all the trouble of canceling my card and getting a new one. I picked up my cell phone to make the call to start the long, drawn-out process, and then it hit me. I haven’t even prayed about it! I’m frustrated. I’m angry. But I haven’t whispered a single sentence of a prayer!
So I stopped and just said, “God, please show me where my debit card is, and forgive me for not praying sooner.” At the exact moment I finished praying, my cell phone slipped out of my hand and fell between the two front seats. I reached down to get it, and the first thing my hand touched was a plastic card. Yes, it was my debit card! I’m still looking for my cell phone, however!
No. I found them both, and I just smiled and thought, God, You must have a great sense of humor, and I still have so much to learn about trusting You with the details of my life.
Was finding my debit card a miracle? Not really. But it was an answer to prayer. When God helps us in the details of life, maybe we can call those times minor miracles, but we have to be careful describing them as miracles. The problem, of course, is that we dilute the significance of miracles if they aren’t rare. And in our ongoing conversation with skeptics, we believers lose the debate. The skeptic says, “You’re calling natural things—even trivial things—supernatural.”
I also see a danger in making miracles the main focus of our faith. These days, miracles are at the forefront of our culture, right? Collections of miracle stories are published, faith-based healing services are plentiful, and some people even write about and preach miracles as a new gospel, as the object of faith. Now I’m not saying that all faith healing is fakery or that any particular faith healer is a fraud. I think God sometimes works through those people and that approach. But I don’t believe God gives miracles just to those who have an abundance of faith and withholds miracles from those who have less faith. That way of thinking only leads to doubt, grief, and disappointment. And that isn’t the God I know.
When we exalt miracles as the focus of our belief, we make miracles an idol. Instead, we need to understand that miracles are signs pointing to God and to our need for Him.
So how do we make sense of miracles today? How do we ensure our understanding of miracles in daily life is proper and balanced? How do we properly and fully experience the work that God is doing in our lives through miracles?
A good starting point is to examine the miracles of Jesus. I think we learn much about ourselves and about God by looking at Jesus’s miraculous works in the lives of people around Him. I think we can find the miracle we need today through the miracles of Jesus back then. I like what Mark Batterson said: “Don’t seek miracles. Follow Jesus.”7
When you look for your miracle in Jesus, you find more than a miracle. You find Jesus, who is not just the source of miracles. He’s the only source of peace, joy, fulfillment, purpose, and meaning.
When my kids were little and I had to travel, I always brought them some small toy or souvenir from wherever I’d been. I would walk in and say, “Daddy’s home!” The kids would rush to the door and hug me, and I would open up my suitcase and give them their toys.
They were always excited to get their presents, but they were much more excited about my presence. They would pour out all that had happened during the few days I was gone and tell me how they’d missed me so much and were so glad I was home.
The miracles God gives us in this life are the presents, the gifts, that point us to the greater miracle of His presence.
I realize that the miracle you need today may be God’s healing touch or God’s providing hand. And God can work those miracles in your life, but He’ll always do it in a way that will draw you closer to Himself so you can experience the source of the miracle.
Ultimately the biggest danger we face is missing the whole point. Miracles, as we shall see, are not really about physical healing, deliverance from storms, or postponements of a death sentence. Miracles are about God transforming lives spiritually, bringing people into relationship with Him. The point of a miracle is how it brings us closer to God.
So, when it comes to the miracles of Jesus, the end game is Jesus. Christ wants you to find Him and to come into a deep and rich relationship with the God who created you. The ultimate purpose of a miracle is to bring glory to God and draw us closer to Him.
I’m so grateful, however, that Jesus always starts with where we are in order to get us to where we need to be. As we study the miracles of Christ, we see right away that Jesus always met people at their point of need. He got right into their mess so He could give them their miracle.
The Big Question
When Jesus was passing through Jericho for the last time on His way to Jerusalem and the cross, He encountered a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus as the crowds pushed in to get a glimpse of the One they had heard worked miracles.
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” (Mark 10:49–51)
What an interesting question Jesus asked Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus was saying to this blind beggar, “What is the miracle you need most?”
Let’s face it. Bartimaeus had lots of needs. He was poor; he needed money. He was probably homeless; he needed a place to live. He was probably alone in life; he needed friends. He could have given Jesus a long list of miracles he needed.
Jesus, however, wanted Bartimaeus to ask for the miracle he needed most. The blind beggar didn’t have to think twice. He blurted out, “I want to see.” Really, it was a short prayer for a miracle, but it was prayed to the Son of God, the source of miracles.
I believe that is also the starting point for finding your miracle. Jesus asks you, “What is the miracle you need most?” I know it won’t take hours or even minutes before the answer comes to your mind. It’s the overwhelming burden on your heart right now. Maybe it’s so painful you can barely talk about it. The good news is, all you have to do is whisper it to God.
The pathway to a miracle always starts with God asking you, “What is the miracle you need most?” and you telling God and asking Him for your miracle.
Jesus, being all-knowing God, knew how Bartimaeus was going to answer His question. I believe He wanted Bartimaeus to express the miracle he needed most so that he would always remember it was Jesus who answered his short but heartfelt prayer: “I want to see.”
As you start the journey to find your miracle, recognize that it always begins with a short and simple prayer. Jesus wants you to clarify the miracle you need most and tell Him in prayer. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
You will find your miracle only when you seek it by asking the Source of miracles in prayer. Prayer and miracles go hand in hand.
We’ll see in the next chapter that Jesus gave Bartimaeus a much greater and longer-lasting miracle than physical sight. Jesus gave him the miracle of a transformed and redeemed life. Jesus started with the miracle Bartimaeus thought he needed most in order to get him what he really needed most—an eternal relationship with the Son of God.
Jesus always starts by asking you the question “What is the miracle you need most?”
As we go on this adventure in faith together, we will end each chapter with powerful, personal promises from God’s Word that will encourage you and build your faith in the Source of miracles.
So, what is the miracle you need most? Write it down, and ask Jesus to guide you to your miracle.