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First Christian Church, Vandalia
It’s all about God. The word “miracle” is a word used to explain positive events that cannot be explained scientifically. Like the story of the man who saw a car on fire with another man trapped inside. The man inside tried in vain to open the car door, but it was stuck. Seeing the man in the car could not get out, another man grabbed the car door and “miraculously” opened the door. Was this a case where the man in the car was too upset to open the door himself, or was this a miracle?
What about the time when a man was trapped under his car after an accident and a stranger single-handedly lifted the car off of him? Was this just a case where the rescuer was able to do this because he had an adrenalin rush that provided him the strength to lift the car, or was this a miracle?
We hear about miracles happening, but they happen to someone who is somewhere else.
Do we fail to recognize them when they happen to someone nearer to us? Do we fail to see miracles for what they are? Is this why we go about our lives not thanking God for them? My wife’s doctor told her that every time he delivered a newborn baby, he felt that he was witnessing a miracle. What mother or father of a new-born son or daughter has not felt this same about their own baby?
I believe in miracles. I always have, but I do now more than ever. In the early 1970s, I began to hear continuous noise in my right ear. Seeking relief, I went to a prominent hearing specialist at a well-known clinic and hospital in Central Illinois. This doctor had perfected the (cochlear) implant that allowed people to regain their hearing. After my hearing test, he told me that the noise in my ears was tinnitus, and that I also had a loss of hearing in my right ear. I asked him if there was anything I could do to improve my hearing. He said there was nothing I could do to get rid of the tinnitus, and that both would get worse as the years passed. He was correct.
Over the years, my inability to hear with my right ear became an increasingly greater problem. By the early 1990s, when I returned to college and then on to seminary, I found that if I used a pocket tape recorder with an earphone, I could hear the teacher at the head of the class while I recorded the lectures.
More recently, while driving down the highway, I needed to remind my wife to “Talk to me and not to the windshield, so I can hear you.” As a pastor, I have had trouble hearing members of my congregation during our times of sharing our joys and concerns.
On Sunday, Aug. 8, that all changed. While I was sitting at our dining room table reading the Sunday paper and listening to the TV in the next room, I heard a “pop” in my right ear. Suddenly, I became aware that I could really hear the TV in the next room. I put my hand to my left ear and then to my right ear. I found that I could hear with the same volume with both ears. I now can hear – ”in stereo.” I still have the tinnitus, but now I can hear with both ears.
What happened? I don’t know. Had there been some mechanical workings in my right ear that had “let loose”? Is this what restored my hearing after 35 years? I have talked to two doctors, and both have said it was a miracle. Was it?
Now, whenever I read the words in John 9:24, they have an even stronger meaning to me than before. For in the Gospel of John, we read that Jesus had given eyesight to a man who had been blind from birth.
When asked how Jesus had restored his sight, the man replied, “One thing I do know...that before I was blind...now I see.”
I can not and will not deny the power of Christ Jesus to do today what he did during his life here on earth. Nor do I take credit for being worthy enough of having a miracle bestowed on me.
You are free to believe what you wish. I choose to believe in miracles. It’s not about me; it’s about the power of God to work in our lives through his son, Jesus the Christ.
One thing I do know...that before I was nearly deaf in my right ear...now I can hear.”