Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Be Careful What You Wish For 

Occasionally, I hear some of my Christian friends say something like, “I wish God would perform a miracle right before my eyes. Maybe send an angel to appear and talk to me, like what happened to people in the Bible. If that happened to me, then my faith would not be so weak and I’d believe in God with a new passion.”

I must admit, I occasionally think along those lines, too. When my faith life is dry and barren, and it seems the natural, secular world is dominating my thoughts and actions, it would be nice to be reminded of God’s power and majesty in a startling and unforgettable way. After all, if an angel suddenly appeared and talked to me, that would remove all doubts about 1) whether a supernatural dimension to reality really existed, and 2) whether I should focus my attention on the spiritual world much more often than I do.
But is that really what we want to happen? Do any of us really want to have an angel appear and start talking with us?

Don’t forget, every time that scenario occurred in the Bible, the people to whom the angel appeared were terrified. And when it was over, usually they were not all that thrilled about what the angel told them to do.

If an angel appeared to one of us, or if some heavenly, miraculous event occurred just for us, what would be the first thing we would have to do? That’s right, we’d have to tell others about it and spread the news that God had worked a miracle in our lives. How exactly will most of our family, friends, and coworkers respond to our breathless (borderline hysterical) proclamation? Right, again. They would think we’re crazy.

I can only speak for myself, but I much prefer that people, especially the ones I see on a regular basis, think of me as somewhat sane. If I witnessed a spectacular miracle or if an angel appeared and spoke to me, I would have to say good-bye to the days of being considered level-headed and normal. Maybe a few people would believe my story, but most of the people I’ve known for years would conclude that I had lost my mind.
I do believe in God, and I do want to serve Him, but I also strongly desire that my family and friends do not think that I am off my rocker. If God chose me to witness a stunning miracle, I’d have to get used to people referring to me as Wacko Willie.

There’s another aspect to this scenario that is also unpleasant to consider. If any of us were to have an angel appear and speak to us, we would be required to change our lives drastically. Every time an angel appeared to someone in Scripture, it was not to say, “Hey, how ya doing?” and then disappear. Nope, every time an angel appeared, it was to command that person to do something completely different with their lives.

For example, when an angel appeared to Mary, she was told that she would give birth to a child, even though she had never been with a man. When an angel appeared to Joseph, he was told to marry the pregnant Mary, even though he was not the father. A while later, an angel told Joseph to pack up quickly and move to Egypt.
If an angel appeared to me, I can’t even imagine what he’d tell me to do, but I’m sure it would be something I have no desire to do.

So, people who hope to see a miracle or have an angel speak to them, thinking it will boost their faith life, should be careful what they wish for. If that occurred to one of us, here is what would happen: First, most of the people we know will be convinced we’re looney tunes. Second, we’ll be compelled by the miraculous vision to drop everything and embark on a completely different way of life. (Which, by the way, will be another reason our friends will think we’re bonkers.)

It is possible to have a strong faith life without witnessing a supernatural miracle. Those of us who occasionally wish for something like that to happen should be thankful that God loves us so much He would never burden us like that. Probably. 

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