Do miracles still happen?
The New Testament is full of miracles.
In fact, regarding some of the miraculous things Christ did, John recorded:
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.John 21:25
Many miracles performed by Christ and his apostles seemed to inspire faith and helped spread the gospel, such as one of Christ’s most famous miracles – raising Lazarus from the dead.
Much people of the Jews… came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead… [and] by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.John 12:9-11
Or when Peter raised Tabitha from the dead…
But Peter… kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.Acts 9:40-42
A friend and I recently discussed questions like: “If they were so prevalent then, why don’t we see more miracles today?” and “Couldn’t those miracles help more people believe?”
My recent HWN has come from pondering questions like these.
I believe miracles are still happening today, but recognizing them is a matter of perspective.
My cousin Josalyn gave me permission to share this miracle from her family last month.
On Monday we were at a pool party at my parent’s house. Rob and I were in the hot tub with the twins, Charlie, and several other family members. At one point, we were both distracted with the twins and didn’t notice little Charlie (who doesn’t know how to swim) climb up on the edge of the hot tub and jump into the deep end of the swimming pool. We had taken off his floaties to help him go to the bathroom and weren’t as careful as we should have been about putting them right back on because we thought we were okay in the shallow hot tub. Somehow none of the other 23 people saw him jump in either.
The security camera shows Charlie, who has never had a swim lesson, kicking and rolling and fighting for 2.5 minutes and miraculously making his way across to the other side of the pool, under water almost the whole time, but always right near the surface. At this point my brother, Steve, was walking by the pool and for no apparent reason felt like he should stop and turn around. When he did, he saw Charlie just as he was starting to sink to the bottom of the pool. He reached down, scooped him out of the pool, yelled for Rob, and started doing chest compressions. I can’t describe the utter anguish I felt when I looked across the pool and saw Charlie completely blue and lifeless. I thought he was dead. I started running to him, but fell to the ground, screaming and bawling, and my mom wrapped her arms around me and just held me.
When Rob got to Charlie, he says this was only point where felt panicky and thought “I don’t know what to do!” He knelt down by Charlie and started pushing on his rock-hard stomach and slapping his back. Charlie threw up a little water and at this point Rob suddenly felt perfectly calm and like his actions were guided. He reached into Charlie’s mouth to clear out the throw up and Charlie gagged and threw up more water. So Rob kept reaching into the back of Charlie’s throat, gagging him so he would throw up. He did this 5 or 6 times.
During this process, my dad went and got consecrated oil, and he and Rob gave him a priesthood blessing that he would be fully restored physically and mentally. Each time Charlie threw up, he came to a little more. He was very groggy and kept trying to close his eyes, but he was awake and alive and breathing. The 911 operator told us to make sure we kept him awake until the paramedics arrived a few minutes later.
The paramedics rushed in in full life-saving mode, but when they saw Charlie’s condition – eyes open, breathing, supporting his own weight, and groggy but still somewhat responsive – they seemed to relax, which helped a little. They took his vitals, which were normal, and said we should take him right the to ER, but he didn’t need to go by ambulance. We knew Charlie would be okay when we were getting him into the van and he said to me, who was still bawling “Mom, why are you so sad?!”
At the ER, they took x-rays of his chest and saw some inflammation and a little water in his lungs, so they decided to keep him in the hospital overnight, just to make sure he didn’t experience any secondary drowning issues. After a thankfully uneventful night at the hospital, he woke up as his normal, energetic, happy, super-smart self. You would have no idea anything happened to him at all.
When he got home from the hospital, he yelled “I’m ready for a pool party!” We thought it was important to get him back in the pool right away so he didn’t develop any fear of the water, so we went back to the pool that afternoon, and he jumped right back in with no fear (in his floaties, of course!). Love that brave boy!
I don’t think I’ve ever hugged Charlie, or my other kids, as much as I have this week. We pretty much won’t let Charlie walk past us without reaching down and hugging him and telling him we love him. That night in the hospital, we prayed that we would never forget how we felt at that moment. As scary and awful an event as it was, it was a potent reminder of what matters most.
We praise God for saving our son. Yes, we believe in miracles!
Was that a miracle?
Well, it’s a choice to see it that way, and having that kind of perspective requires faith.
Something interesting happens when you compare this to miracles in the Bible though. There we find curated and abbreviated versions of the highlights of the time, written from the perspective of believing Christians. In our day, there’s infinitely more content to sift through, with most things written from a perspective of skepticism or logic.
So, if you adhere to the contemporary norms, you’d probably write off Charlie’s experience as luck. And in your daily news feed it would probably read something like this:
Toddler almost drowned at family party. Quick thinking and medical attention saved him from an untimely death. Grateful parents are fortunate he survived against the odds! #LuckyToBeAlive #GoodVibes #DontForgetYourFloaties
But I imagine if Charlie’s story happened in 35 AD, it would have been recorded more like this:
Charlie, knowing not yet to swim, fell in the water, whereupon he remained in the depths. Being discovered when there was no longer breath in him, the Spirit of the Lord spake peace and counsel to his father’s heart. And when he had put his finger in the boy’s mouth and laid his hands on his head, straightway the water departed from Charlie’s body, and he arose and walked. And all who were present believed and praised God for what they had seen.
Which version of the story do you prefer?
Miracles in the Bible could also have been written from the hashtag-inspired perspective, and I suppose the way we see this kind of thing is up to us.
Miraculous is in the eyes of the beholder.
It’s no wonder Moroni had reason to ask “Has the day of miracles ceased?” to which he answered:
Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.Moroni 7:37
It is by faith that miracles are seen – seen and recognized for what they are. The line between miraculous and mundane isn’t in the event, rather in the perspective of the one who see it.
If you have the time (13 minutes), here’s another example of people choosing to see miracles for what they are.
Miracles happen every day.
Lastly, I want to point out that miracles don’t only distinguish themselves from the mundane, but can be found within it.
The miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine — which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.Wendell Berry
So in addition to the choice to see the saving of Charlie’s life as miraculous, perhaps we can also remember that his life in the first place is even more miraculous.
p.s. Since my last blog post, I visited California for my sister Emily’s wedding :) and at her request I was the officiant!
We got to spend time together as a family — the first time all 17 of us have been in the same place at the same time :)
p.p.s. I enjoyed spending the 4th with some good friends :)
p.p.p.s. I went on a camp out last weekend, and wanted to share this slow-motion video of our fire. Kind of miraculous, right? ;)