THE BIGGER THE PROBLEM, THE BIGGER THE MIRACLE

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THE BIGGER THE PROBLEM, THE BIGGER THE MIRACLE

“It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.” Thomas Fuller

I don’t know about you, but I have always had a problem with this proverb. It has found its way into so many self-help books that it has become a cliché. And we know what sort of biases we have towards clichés because these well-meaning phrases are used by people who either have no ability or no willingness to help the one whom they used the phrases on. Furthermore, I’ve been up long before dawn, and quite honestly, night is night and night is dark; that hour just before dawn does not really seem darker than any other hour that had come before.

But the thing that really gets to me is that the phrase gives people the impression that our Father likes to wait till the last minute. He is omnipotent, He is omniscient, but just for kicks, He waits till the very last minute to rescue us, save the day, so that our lives can be a great blockbuster, the ultimate cliff hanger whose ratings will rocket through the roof.

But beloved, there is no evidence in the Bible to suggest that our loving Father takes our lives as sport. He waits because He wants us to come home to Him, just like the prodigal’s father.

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 [MSG]

He waits because we don’t believe Him, just like Israel, during the time of Moses, did not believe that Canaan was already given to them by our Father.

“Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it.”
But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.” Numbers 13:30-33 [MSG]

And He waits because there is a lesson He wants us to learn, just like why Jesus waited for a few days before going to see Lazarus who had died.

“Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe.” John 11:14-15

But our Father never waits to make sport of our lives.

So why is the night darkest before the dawn? Well beloved, that is because,

“...Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,” Luke 22:31 [AMPC]
So “sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you,” Genesis 4:7 [AMP]

Try this. Look back on your life. Find the good times. Can you find a corresponding bad event that came just before or after that good time? I’m sure you can. In fact, before the scales fell off my eyes, I was convinced that Heaven was nothing more than a large accounting firm and each of us had a personal accountant to ensure that our lives are just one big zero sum game. All the good would be met with an equal and corresponding bad, so that when we finally close our eyes, God will say to our personal accountant, ‘Well done, you have balanced the books well. Here’s another one for you. Knock yourself out.’

But beloved, I was wrong. And if you used to think like that, you are wrong too. Make no mistake. We are at war. And Satan is trying his level best to ensure that not only is all the good that you receive from our Father is met with a bad in equal measure, he wants to make sure that you end up in the negative.

But take heart. There is hope. For Jesus says,

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

So instead of expecting an equivalent bad with every good, there is every reason to expect that the bigger the problem Satan throws our way, the bigger the miracle our Father is sending on the way. Let’s see why.

If we look at the miracles of Jesus, they were all miraculous. That is quite a non-statement, else why would they be called miracles. But if we put on the cynic’s lens and look at them in terms of their ultimate impact on the recipient, you will see that the larger the problem, the bigger the miracle Jesus performed.

In Cana, the wine ran out (John 2). What was the potential fallout? Embarrassment perhaps, on the groom’s family. But since the feast was already well underway and the guests already had their fill, the embarrassment would be minimal and we know this because,

“When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn’t know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!”” John 2:9-10 [MSG]
Now, please understand that I am in no way belittling the miracles of Jesus. But let’s consider this carefully. What was the impact on the bridegroom? Small I wager. In fact, the groom himself might have been too drunk to realize what had happened in the first place. So small problem, ‘small’ miracle.

“Now he was back in Cana of Galilee, the place where he made the water into wine. Meanwhile in Capernaum, there was a certain official from the king’s court whose son was sick. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and asked that he come down and heal his son, who was on the brink of death. Jesus put him off: “Unless you people are dazzled by a miracle, you refuse to believe.”
But the court official wouldn’t be put off. “Come down! It’s life or death for my son.”
Jesus simply replied, “Go home. Your son lives.”
The man believed the bare word Jesus spoke and headed home. On his way back, his servants intercepted him and announced, “Your son lives!”
He asked them what time he began to get better. They said, “The fever broke yesterday afternoon at one o’clock.” The father knew that that was the very moment Jesus had said, “Your son lives.”
That clinched it. Not only he but his entire household believed. This was now the second sign Jesus gave after having come from Judea into Galilee.” John 4:46-54 [MSG]

Now the stakes are higher here. This was a high ranking official. It is reasonable to assume that He was a person of influence and it is recorded for us that a lot of people were looking in on his situation to see what would happen. So not only was the life of the boy at stake, the souls of those looking in were at stake too. So Jesus not only healed, He healed from a distance, across space. Bigger problem, ‘bigger’ miracle.

But you are sitting there thinking that these do not conform to the situations that you are familiar with. For you, you believe, but what happens seems to be the exact opposite of what Jesus promised. He promised provision, but your financial situation seems to be getting worse. He promised healing, but your condition seems to be taking a turn for the worse. Well beloved, you are not alone. Not only has it happened in your life and mine, it has been recorded for us in the Bible.

“A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”
But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”” John 11:1-4 [NLT]

Come on, we all know Lazarus eventually died. So Jesus got it wrong. His sickness did end in death. Sure feels that way, doesn’t it?

But beloved, did Jesus really get it wrong? Jesus certainly delayed, but why did Jesus delay?

“So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.” John 11:5-6 [NLT]

He loved them and so was setting them up for an even greater miracle. That is why He said,

“Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe.” John 11:14-15

Beloved, we know that in the end, Lazarus was raised from the dead. We know that in the end, Jesus did not get it wrong, He has been right all along. So similarly, when Jesus says to us,

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

You, who believe in Him, will never go hungry. You, who believe in Him, will never thirst.

And when Jesus says,

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

You who believe in Him, though the situation seems bleak, though the medical report is sobering to say the least, you shall live and even if you die; and if you are living, you shall never die.

Beloved, you who believe in Jesus are the beloved child of our Father. So remember,

“God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19 [AMPC]

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

So when you think that all is lost, when you think that there’s no more hope left, remember, the bigger the problem, the bigger the miracle. For indeed,

“It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.” Thomas Fuller

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