A miracle is a deviation from the natural order of things. Men are familiar with the natural law and we appropriately live lives fulfilling and expecting the natural law to play out. Yet there are times when the unexpected happens- an incurable disease disappears, a dead man comes back, a stranger responds to your needs and what is improbable occurs. Those who experience the miracle vouch for it; others are skeptical. In John 6, we see the story of Jesus walking on water across the lake of Galilee toward his disciples who were struggling against a strong wind and rough waters.
19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
The lake of Galilee is the second lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea) and lowest freshwater lake in the world. With an average width of around 10 miles, the disciples still had around 7 miles to go when the storm struck. Yet the moment they took Jesus on board, the boat immediately reached their destination.
Was this a miracle or the mind of John playing a trick? The other gospel accounts do not specify the boat immediately reaching the shore, though they do not discount the same either. Was John so relieved with the calming of the waters that the ease of rowing thereafter made it appear to him that, contrasted with the struggle they had prior to Jesus coming in, the boat immediately reached the shore? While possible, we need to remember that the Bible does not waste words and that John and his friends still had 7 miles to go- quite a long distance that if rowed, would have made the use of the word ‘immediately’ a bit of a stretch.
So if this was a miracle, we could try to explain how it could take place. It is obvious that any explanation that uses the natural laws, would fail. The only explanation would be to say that both the time it would have taken to reach the other side and the distance that needed to be covered shrank, and an effort beyond human, was provided to accomplish the same. This is where atheists are unable to account for anything deviates from the ordinary because excluding a God who is beyond the physical realm and who has created it along with the natural laws, leaves you with no valid explanation.
For a Christian, a miracle is not only possible, but also a testament to the sovereignty of God. He who controls all things can tweak the laws of nature without altering the order of the universe to bring forth miracles. Notably, the disciples had to allow Jesus to come in to the boat, for the boat to re-materialize on the other shore. Proximity to God becomes the basis for all miracles and a deepening connection to God puts a Christian in the realm of an experience of daily miracles.
Denying the probability and the experience of miracles robs you of the richness that life can bring.
- JOHN THE BAPTIST