Can Miracles Exist? - September 27, 1994
I was reading 'Calvin & Hobbes' the other day. Check this out: it was the one when Calvin and Hobbes are playing Calvinball. I love this game. This is a game, like baseball, but there are 25 bases, like soccer, except that you can use your hands and you can ream the other person with the ball. It's kinda like football, except there is no referee and the only rules are, in Calvin's own words, "anything we make up."
I love to watch as Calvin runs and Hobbes tells him that he has to close his eyes because he had run into an "invisible" sector. The only way to get out of the invisible sector is to get hit with the ball. Calvin retaliates by telling Hobbes he's in a "vortex" spot and he has to spin until he falls down. But Hobbes knows the rules, and he out-smarts Calvin by telling him that the vortex spot is in the "boomerang" zone, so it comes back to the person who sent it. Maybe it's me but I find that very funny. I definitely recommend Calvin and Hobbes. End of review.
But think about it, if you would. It's Calvin and Hobbes' game, they made it up, and in a very real way, they can make up or change the rules as they go along. I mean, there's no problem with this, because, they made up the game and changing the rules is just part of the game that they created. More power to them, I say. I applaud the creativity.
People sometimes tell me that it's too hard to believe the Christian message and I say, "no. It is impossible to believe!" Think about it for a moment. Christianity says that God cares intimately about us. The prophet Jeremiah wrote that God loves us "with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). And then he writes that God's "love endures forever" (33:11). But if there is a God, then why would he care at all about us? I mean, in the history of the world, there has never been a ruler, king, queen, president, anyone, who has put up with as much open abuse, rebellion, and dissent as God has. Think about it. How many times do people swear at God when they bump their toe, and then the same people, when they're happy, say they don't even believe in him? But the Christians say God cares about us: Impossible!
So what happens next? Even though we live apart from God, he offers us his Son, and we spit at him by ignoring his offer. In a way, God is like Marlon Brando in the Godfather, he makes an offer we can't refuse.
So what does he offer? The Bible says, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). Can you hear it? God is so willing to meet all our needs, and to take care of us, if only we admit that he is God and we are not and here's the difficult part... we have to admit that we need him.
You've probably read the verse, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). This is the truth, and the truth is that because of Jesus' death on the cross, if we believe, we can be sure that Jesus will cover our defects and we will be with God in heaven. Aren't you glad the verse doesn't read, "...whoever believes in him and volunteers for a soup kitchen once a week and stays away from hateful thoughts..."? We're not called to be perfect. We're called to believe and let him live through us. Hard to believe? No, impossible!
Why would God forgive us? I mean, do we forgive? If someone cuts in front of me in line at Philbrook, I often curse the person under my breath. Hey, I'm not perfect. But God is not like me. He is able to forgive. Still hard to believe? No, Impossible!
But I'm writing to you because I do believe the impossible. I do believe that God could love and forgive someone like me. And lots and lots of others believe it too. We are RA's. We are students like you. We work at Stillings. We live in your hall. And we read 'Calvin and Hobbes.'
Remember Calvinball.? Calvin invented the rules, and when he chooses, he can reach down and change them. If he wants a "vortex" spot to appear, there it is. If he decides you're in a "boomerang" zone, then boomerang it is. He made the rules, he can change them.
God made this world, and he made us. And he made us skeptical. And good thing, too, or we'd end up believing a lot of crazy stuff. But we'd never believe that God loves us, and we'd certainly never admit that he is Lord; unless something happens, and that is when the impossible becomes possible. Yes, there's a word for when the impossible becomes possible, and that word is "miracle." Another good definition of miracle is when the normal rules of this world are changed temporarily. It is a miracle that God cares about us. It is a miracle that God would die for us. It is a miracle that Jesus rose from the dead, and a miracle when one of us believes it and has our lives changed forever.
The truth is that God is powerful enough to perform this miracle. And the truth is that he is so powerful, and so able to do absolutely anything that he can take anyone and change that life at the snap of a finger, and the thought of his will, or a word of his mouth. No, wait, let me change that. He is able to love us, forgive us, accept us, and rescue us not at one word, but at three words. And those three words come from us. They have to be sincere, and they have to be spoken out of need. They are: "help me Jesus."