Frans Buys had to pick up a friend from just outside the entrance to a large building in Leiden, Holland. He wanted to park in front of the entrance but didn’t turn in time and hence parked behind a large bus. He got out and went to wait in the parking area at the entrance to the building where his friend could see him. After a few minutes his motor telephone rang (it was before cellphones). He started towards the car and heard a tremendous bang. On the phone a voice said: “Sorry, wrong number”. Where he had stood a minute before there was now a big heap of building rubble. It fell from a towering crane busy with construction work. Had he succeeded in turning to park there, or had the telephone not rung at that moment, he would certainly be dead. His reaction was: “That I call a miracle of God.”
Believers are sensitive to the ways in which God works in their lives. They notice the miracles that God performs by his grace. To believers there is no such thing as coincidence. To Frans Buys that what he had experienced was no “mere coincidence”, or that he was “just lucky”; to him it was “a miracle of God”.
But bad things do happen as well. In a previous message I wrote about Wilhelm Busch who told of a man sitting in a bar in a wheelchair. He swore terribly. Months earlier rocks fell on him in a mine, breaking his back. The man said to Wilhelm: “I don’t want anything to do with God. Where was He when I was injured?” Wilhelm and the men in their Bible study group decided to help the man. Again and again they fetched the man and pushed him to their group. At first the man protested, but he couldn’t stop them. They sang, prayed, read from the Bible and spoke about the love of God. A few weeks later the man confessed his sin, and gave his life to Jesus. He then said to Wilhelm: “When I arrive in heaven and stand before God’s throne, I then want to thank Him that my back had been broken. Because if it hadn’t happened, I would have walked straight to hell. You won’t believe how cheerful I am. Since I know that I belong to Jesus everything is different, everything is so pleasant, even the grey cobble stones in the street smile at me.”
As was the case with the man in the wheelchair, it is often so that God uses the bad things happening to us to have something good result from it. Nowhere does the Bible say that believers will only experience the good. Paul rejoices in the grace of God and over the salvation in Jesus. About that he says: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them (1Tim. 1:15). But Paul also had it very bad: We have been beaten, jailed, and mobbed; we have been overworked and have gone without sleep or food (2 Cor. 6:5).
One could think that believers will no longer trust God should bad things happen to them. They’ll feel that God has let them down. They have, after all, prayed that the Lord preserve and protect them and their people, and now this. It is amazing that precisely the opposite usually happens. In such circumstances the children of God don’t turn away from Him. It is precisely to God that they look for consolation. In stead of a separation between them and God, the relationship grows more intimate, the experience of his love more intense.
God merely asks that one believes and trusts in Him. We may experience times that cause us to wonder: Does God hear us? The psalmist writes however: God made our ears, can’t he hear? He made our eyes, can’t he see? (Ps. 94:9).
Thank you God for all your miracles and grace which we may experience each day. Amen.