I walked up to a wall of home décor signs in the large market, scanning their various messages and appreciating the artistic ways the typefaces had been rendered.
And then everything I had been thinking abruptly stopped when I came to this one: there will be miracles, it said.
I stood still, gaze locked on the words. I wanted a miracle. I had been wanting one for years.
In a way, it seemed kind of presumptuous to put those words on a sign, but in another way, it seemed completely right.
Miracles and Four-Leaf Clovers
I had heard stories of a couple of miracles that occurred during my lifetime—just about a total of two. Miracles seemed to be rarer than four-leaf clovers. I had probably seen at least two or three of those little green plant anomalies in my lifetime. (Wikipedia says the probability of a four-leaf clover occurring is 1 for every 5,000 three-leaf clovers.)
I had never given much serious thought to either miracles or the rare extra leaf on a clover. After all, out of sight, out of mind. My involvement in miracles seemed about as vital as my involvement in the appearance of quad-leafed clovers: they occurred without my involvement or knowledge. I was merely an observer after-the-fact, when I was even that.
The Same Works and Even Greater Works
But lately I’ve been giving more thought to something Jesus said:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”
John 14:12 (NLT)
Anyone who believes in him? The same works he did? And even greater works? Is Jesus saying what I think he is saying?
Jesus was centrally involved in miracles. Lots of them. Those were the works he did.
So why haven’t I been involved in miracles? And in even greater works—whatever those would be?
Maybe my relegation of miracles to four-leaf clover status—considering them an oddity occurring randomly at divine whim, apart from human intervention—is part of the problem. Maybe I can be involved, and I just haven’t realized it yet. After all, Scripture makes it plain that human faith is one vital factor to the carrying out of miracles: “And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58 NLT).
Do I not see more than a few miracles here because of my own failure to expect that there will be miracles?
Expecting miracles is a dangerous business. It sets people up for disappointment with God if they want a miracle more than they want him, or more than they want the eternal outcome God has his eye on. Sometimes God wants the very-long-term outcome of a painful thing—like Jesus dying on the cross in order to take away the sin of the world (Isaiah 53:10)—even more than he wants short-term relief for someone he truly loves.
Short-term pain for long-term benefit is not an easy pill to swallow. It requires trust—quite a bit of trust—and always when we are most vulnerable. After all, if we weren’t in a weak or painful position of some kind, we wouldn’t even think we needed a miracle.
So maybe that’s why it’s easier to not expect miracles. There are a lot less heart matters to sort through if we don’t. Far fewer sticky questions of faith. It’s tidier, and no one seems to get hurt.
But what if that’s a lie? What if we are all getting hurt by missing out on miracles, by missing out on the kingdom of God breaking through where we are? What if we are exactly like the people in that town in which Jesus could do only a few miracles?
I Want Miracles
I don’t mind telling you, I want miracles. There are some I’d like for myself, but I also want to perform for others some of the works Jesus has done, and even greater ones—just as he said anyone who believes in him would do (John 14:12). I believe in Christ, so he was talking about me. If you believe in him, he was talking about you, too.
So, how do we start?
Asking God for Wisdom
If I knew, I’d already be doing it. But James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.” So I’m asking. I’m praying for what Jesus said would happen (John 14:12) to happen. I’m praying for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth (Matthew 6:10). I’m asking for Christ’s power to work through me (Colossians 1:29).
I came upon an interesting concept recently in a book I was reading. It talked about how telling and hearing true stories of what God has done in our own time and place arms us spiritually. These words unravel hopelessness, and they increase people’s expectations of what God can do. The author made the point that such testimonies not only encourage people, but are an actual spiritual force that pushes back spiritual darkness and creates space for faith and expectancy, room for God to work. (Reference: The Essential Guide to Healing by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark, page 171.)
I’ve become very intentional, therefore, about making that kind of room in myself by what I’m listening to and reading. I was born with a critical kind of scientific mind, so I’m looking for miracles that come with reliable eyewitnesses and verifiable records.
That’s one reason that Jen Barrick’s story was so powerful to me, and one reason I’m recommending it to you.
Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick is the true account of Linda’s daughter Jen’s experience with catastrophic brain injuries sustained in a car accident in 2006 when Jen was 15. Although doctors did not expect Jen to live through the first night, she did live and received a very unusual miracle of healing. Today, Jen travels and speaks with her family.
While the way God healed Jen Barrick was intriguing and distinctive, I could not help but also be struck by the author’s impressions of why God gave Jen the particular kind of healing he did, rather than restoring her to exactly the way she had been before the injury. After all, while he was doing the impossible, God certainly could have healed her brain any way he chose. And that’s what made me consider so closely the way he did choose. That aspect of the story was a very strong indicator of how much God wants to rescue all of his children. It reminded me of the power of miracles to extend beyond the person to whom they are given—and that they seem to be inherently designed to work that way.
New Book News
& Vote for Your Favorite Back Cover Blurb!
My next book, presently titled Faith with Grit for the Not-Yet Healed, is coming soon—sometime in summer 2019, if the Lord is willing. The book cover is being designed now, and I need your help!
Could you please vote on which book blurb below is your favorite? The best blurb will go on the back cover of the book, and it will also be the book description people will see on Amazon.com when they’re deciding whether to buy the book.
Here’s how to vote for your favorite blurb: Hit “reply” to this email, and tell me which of the blurbs below is your #1 favorite, Blurb A, B, C, D, E, or F.
Thanks in advance!
P.S. Do you know someone who might be interested in my emails, blog, or upcoming books? Share this email with them! All are welcome to subscribe at amylu-riley.com/subscribe
AmyLu Riley is the author of
Jesus as Healer: Miracles and Meditations in Luke.
Visit amylu-riley.com/new-book-coming for information about upcoming books.
Which of these book descriptions makes you want to read my upcoming book?
Reply to this email with your choice.
Is Your Faith Getting Pulled at the Seams?
When she only had to apply it to other people’s lives, AmyLu Riley’s beliefs about sickness and suffering had seemed solid.
But after years of living with her own tough health issues, that theology got pulled at the seams like a sturdy duffel bag filled with a load of heavy rocks. She now had more unanswered questions than it could carry. For example, when the prayer offered in faith doesn’t make the sick person well, and the sick person is you, then what?
She needed answers to hard questions, and she knew other people did, too. It was time to find them.
If your own duffel bag is full of rocks, you’re invited into this journey of asking hard questions and finding real answers—and the faith you need for your actual life.
I Know God Can Heal Me, So Why Doesn’t He?
That one spiritual issue can cause more hurt than many physical problems combined.
AmyLu Riley knows. Her own theology wasn’t reaching the depth of her pain on this very issue. She had known the answers about suffering—until she was actually living it. As years came and went without healing, a gap widened between what she believed and what she was actually experiencing.
Maybe you’re facing this, too. You believe in God. You trust him. And while your faith is a lifeline, something just isn’t adding up—something painful that’s difficult to pinpoint or even admit to yourself.
Join AmyLu Riley in the pages of Faith with Grit for the Not-Yet Healed. She opens her journals to share the wrestling with God and the Bible that helped her begin to find the kind of faith your spirit needs to live strong with chronic health issues.
Find the Cure for that Sore Spot in Your Spirit
This book is for people who are waiting for healing that hasn’t yet come. It’s for believers who are having the struggle of their lives with their health—and, at the same time, whose spirits may be taking a beating.
You may have questions, disappointment that is difficult to express, and a feeling that the pat answers you’ve heard about suffering don’t go deep enough to bring you comfort or resolution.
It’s time for your spiritual load to be lifted.
AmyLu Riley has been there, and in these pages she shines a light on truth from God’s Word that can give you clarity and set you free. It’s a unique journey toward a more complete, Bible-based understanding of suffering that is deep enough to reach your hurt.
Strengthen your faith by coming along as AmyLu asks God tough questions and dives fearlessly into the Scriptures to find answers. Your spirit and soul will benefit from a new kind of faith experience: one in which the difficult reality you’re living can be honestly reconciled with the reality of God’s love.
Is Your Spirit Hurting As You Wait for Healing?
You’re having the struggle of your life with your health—but that’s not all. Somewhere inside, your spirit is aching. You live with unformed questions, disappointment that is difficult to express, and a feeling that the pat answers you’ve heard about suffering don’t really help.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Through this book, your spirit can benefit from a fresh healing experience. In these pages, AmyLu Riley opens her journals to share some of her most real and painful questions to God—and his answers.
Follow along on a journey to a gritty, biblical understanding of suffering deep enough to reach the hurt of living with chronic health issues. You’ll find weights lifting off your own spirit like heavy rocks that you’ve carried for long enough.
Has Your Health Taken a Toll on Your Spirit?
You’re having the struggle of your life with your health—but that’s not all. Somewhere inside, your spirit is taking a beating. You live with unformed questions, disappointment that is difficult to express, and a feeling that the pat answers you’ve heard about suffering don’t really help.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay that way.
In these pages, AmyLu Riley opens her journals to share her own real and painful questions to God, and his responses. As you begin to find answers deep enough to reach the hurt of living with chronic health issues, you’ll experience weights lifting off your spirit like heavy rocks that you’ve carried for long enough. And your faith will become more resilient than you ever imagined.
Is It Raining Where You Are?
AmyLu Riley came to recognize that her own beliefs about suffering and healing—theology that had seemed so solid in the sunshine—made a poor umbrella in life’s storms. And that she wasn’t alone. She had met other believers in Christ who were also suffering greatly in their spirits because their theology didn’t extend to the depth of their pain.
And then one day she realized that God wanted to do something about that. It was time to close the gap. God didn’t want to leave his children in the storms of life clinging to an inside-out umbrella and believing it was all there was.
You’re invited into the pages of her journey. You, too, can find what your spirit needs when your storms don’t stop.