For those of you who know me, when you read the title, you probably thought I was writing about our pregnancy. We are “expecting” our little “miracle” very soon! And, even though every precious baby, birth and pregnancy are miracles in themselves, we especially think of our baby as a miracle, being one of the “3%” when birth control is 97% “effective!” But, I have been pondering another question recently- should Christians “expect” miracles? When I am praying, and praying for the seemingly impossible, should I expect that miracle? It can be confusing because we hear voices from all sides. We can even turn on the TV and a minister tells us to send in our money and within 30 days we will receive a miracle we have been praying for. I believe in miracles and believe in expecting miracles, but I want my thinking to be in line with His, so, I began to ask God and search the scriptures.

I guess when I think of expectation, I simply think of faith. Hebrews tells us, “now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what can not see.” As I study the miracles of Jesus, I see the that performing of miracles is directly related to faith.

One of my favorite miracles is when Jesus healed a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She had gone to many doctors but could not be healed. She was walking in the crowd with many people following Jesus. Listen to what she says. “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” She is EXPECTING to be healed. And Jesus tells her, “Daughter your FAITH HAS HEALED YOU.”

I also love the miracle of the men who bring their friend, a paralytic to Jesus be healed. The crowds were so large, they couldn’t get near Him. So, they cut open the roof and lowered their friend down to Jesus! They expected that Jesus would heal their friend. When “JESUS SAW THEIR FAITH” he healed their friend.

Another favorite is when Jesus heals a Centurion’s (soldier) servant. The man comes to Jesus asking Him to help. When Jesus says he will come to the man’s home to heal the servant, the Centurion tells Jesus that he is not worthy of Jesus coming into his house. But, he knows Jesus can say the word from right there and the man would be healed. Not only does this man expect Jesus to heal his servant, but has faith that Jesus can do it by just speaking it right there. Jesus is “ASTONISHED BY THE MAN’S FAITH.” (Lord, give me faith that astonishes You! Make my faith that strong!).

I can also see that when there is a lack of faith, Jesus can’t perform miracles. In Mark 6, we learn that Jesus went to His hometown. But, the people there were EXPECTING that Jesus couldn’t do miracles. They said, “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t he Mary’s son?” And, the Bible says that Jesus “couldn’t do any miracles” and that He was “amazed at their lack of faith.”

Jesus encourages us through the Word to have faith and rebukes His disciples when they are lacking in faith. I can see that miracles are directly related to faith- that I must believe and have faith. James tells us, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” It can be tricky, though, because when we are praying for something, our timing is not always God’s timing. Often, our circumstances don’t change right away and we sometimes begin to doubt. Jesus tells us to “knock and KEEP knocking, to ask and KEEP asking.”

So… if I am praying for a miracle, and don’t receive it, does it mean that I didn’t have enough faith? And, what if my attitude changes from “expecting” a miracle to “demanding” a miracle? This is where we must be careful as Believers, have balance, have an intimate relationship with God, continually “taking it to the Lord” in prayer.

We have to be careful of our attitude. God is not our Santa Clause and here to fulfill our “wish list.” He is not our “genie” that we pull out when we want a wish. And, He certainly isn’t our vending machine- we put in a prayer and out comes a miracle. Beth Moore says it like this, “Do what I say, in Jesus’ Name.” Although God wants us to be full of faith, and I believe, to expect miracles in our lives, we are to submit and surrender to His Lordship! He is God! He is our Creator. He is Sovereign and is in control. He is all-knowing, pure wisdom. We may not always understand why He says “No” to our prayers, or why we didn’t “receive” our miracle the way we wanted. But, we need to continue to trust in Him and His plan. His plans are perfect and ETERNAL. We sometimes only look through our “earthly” eyes not understanding our circumstances, but God’s ways are ETERNAL and “He is working all things together for good” for His eternal plan and purposes. God sees the beginning from the end. He loves us. He is good. He is trustworthy. He understands that this world is NOT our home and that we have glory and hope to come that far outweighs any momentary trouble here on earth.

And, there are times when we think we didn’t receive the miracle, but can’t see the many miracles He had performed that were different from our own ideas. I remember praying for my uncle to be miraculously cured from his illness. We were praying for a miracle. After a short battle, he passed away. Sitting at his funeral, I as able to hear of all the miracles God performed through this sad experience- my uncle came to call Jesus His Savior, many people came into a personal relationship with Jesus, and some even came to call Him Lord. Praise God! We can’t see everything the way God sees it.

One of my favorite miracles of the Bible is from the Old Testament. It is the story of three young Jewish men- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It takes place during a time when God’s people were in captivity. The men lived in Babylon, a pagan nation. The king of the nation, King Nebuchadnezzar, decided to make a decree that everyone living there had to bow down and worship a 90 foot gold statue. Of course, these Jews, obeying God, respectfully refused to worship any god other than the LORD. The king was furious and the penalty of not worshipping this idol was death. Not just any death- but to be thrown into a fiery furnace. Think about that for a minute! The furnace was so hot that just walking near it caused the guards to burst into flames. Could you imagine facing the possibility of walking into fire and having your body burst into flames, your skin and hair burning?! But, they are expecting a miracle. They say, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand.” WOW! But, here is the key- what they say next. Yes, they are expecting to be saved. Yes, they have great faith. But, they also recognize God’s Lordship and Sovereignty. They submit and surrender to His Will and to His Plan. They say, “BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT, WE WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT WE WILL STILL NOT WORSHIP THE IDOL.” They are going to continue to trust and obey even if God does not perform a miracle on their behalf. It also reminds me of Jesus’ words in the Garden of Gethsemane. When faced with going to the cross, Jesus prayed, “If this cup can be taken from me (in other words, if there is any other way…), but NOT MY WILL BE DONE, FATHER, BUT THY WILL BE DONE.” Jesus submits to His Father’s will, His Father’s plan.

The psalmist praises God and says, “If I were to tell of all your wonders it would take all the days of my life.” I feel that way, too. I know God has performed so many wonders and miracles in my life, they are too numerous to even name them all. I have seen His hand so many times and been humbled and “blown away” at how He works in my life! I know there are many miracles He has worked that I am not even aware of. I think it is so important to take time to exalt Him and thank Him and praise Him for His wonders in our lives. One miracle that I would like to share with you still brings joy and praise to my lips when I remember it.

Several years ago I had a children’s birthday party business. I would come to the birthday child’s home and “do” the party- from the invitations to the decorations, to the cake and games, all centered on different themes. I would come in costume and “entertain” the kids. I did pirate parties, Cinderella princess parties, space parties, army parties, and mermaid parties, to name a few. I loved doing parties, and it brought me much joy!

Well, I had gotten very busy, and was operating on “survival mode” doing several parties back to back. Preparing for the parties was TIME CONSUMING and I was barley “keeping my head above water” doing a party, coming home and getting ready for the next one. One weekend I had a pirate party on a Friday night and a Cinderella party the next morning. When I got home, I had to prepare for the Cinderella party by baking the Cinderella cake and cutting out “gowns” for the little girls. At this party, the girls would go to the ball, dressed as princesses. I would cut crowns and gowns for them to decorate and wear. The “gowns” were simply pink plastic tablecloth cut into the gown shape and tied with a pretty ribbon around the waist. We used a lot of great imagination during the parties!

Well, by the time I had finished baking the cake, it was getting late. I began cutting the tablecloth around 10 o’clock. It was a large party and I needed 18 dresses. About half way through, I ran out of tablecloth! I began to panic! Wal-Mart, which is open 24 hours didn’t carry pink tablecloth. The party store, which had the tablecloth, didn’t open early enough as this was a morning party. I didn’t know what I was going to do. The gowns were important to the dress-up of the ball. I finished everything else and went to bed exhausted.

When I got up the next morning, I decided to stop at our neighborhood drugstore. In the car, I sent up a huge prayer- crying out to God. I was praying for a miracle! In the “natural,” my circumstances seemed impossible. After I prayed, I expected God to help me. I felt a peace that comes with trusting Him. But, I had my own “ideas” of how He should answer my prayer- I thought I would find tablecloth at this drugstore and get to the party in time to cut it. But, alas, all they had was the ugliest PAPER (not plastic) purple flowered tablecloth. I bought it out of desperation. I continued to pray, telling God I trusted Him and knew the party would be fine. At this point, I was praying, too, for grace and mercy from the mom when she saw these “gowns!” Again, I had my own ideas of how God was going to perform a miracle!

Well, when I arrived, the mom was standing at the door, waiting for me. She kind of hesitated, and then said, “Tracy, I don’t want to offend you or spoil what you do, but I have a special request. You see, I used to be a dancer, and I was thinking the girls could wear my old dance costumes instead of the gowns they make. I wasn’t going to ask you, I didn’t want to offend you, but thought it would special for my daughter to wear my costumes.” WHEW!!!! First of all, what girl would rather wear a pink tablecloth than a sequined, feathery REAL dance costume?! Even if I had had the gowns, my reaction would have been the same- of course! But, the question was- would she really have 18 costumes for all of the girls? We pulled out her trunk and began counting- THERE WERE EXACTLY 18 COSTUMES THERE! The party was a blast and the girls had so much fun wearing the costumes. I knew God had answered my prayer.

It may not be a miracle that we would we think of as a “miracle”, but, for me, it was HUGE! I had my own ideas of HOW God should perform a miracle for me. But, His miracles are beyond what I could ever ask or image! “He is able to do exceedingly, immeasurably more than all we ask imagine!” Glory!

Father, we come before You and praise You! Thank You that You are a “God of Wonders”, a God of miracles. Father, forgive us for times of doubt and please increase our faith. Give us a faith that “astonishes You.” Lord, help us to believe in and expect Your miracles in our lives. But, also, help us to have an attitude of surrender, saying, just like the three men, “My God is able and He will rescue me. But, if not, I am still going to follow and trust Him.” Lord, help us as we pray that we are praying according to Your will. Purify our motives. And, fill us with the peace that passes all understanding as we trust in You. Give us an eternal perspective and help us to see things the way You do. We love You! Thank You, Jesus that You still perform miracles in our lives. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

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