Albert Einstein said there are only two ways to live your life. One way is to believe everything is a miracle and the other way is to believe nothing is a miracle. Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, and I are examples of the divide of opinion about miracles. Ed holds that there are no miracles, big or small. I say everything is a miracle, but we ignore our obvious everyday miracles.
The Bible is full of folks who could not see beyond themselves to the power of God at work in everything they encountered. In the Book of Numbers, God instructed Moses to send men to explore the land of Canaan, which God promised to give the Israelites. Ten men representing each of the tribes of Israel went out to see the land of Canaan. They had the following instructions, “See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they walled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some fruit of the land.” (Numbers 13:18-20)
At the end of 40 days, the 10 men returned to give their account of the land of Canaan. Nine out of the 10 explorers saw only obstacles. Only one saw an opportunity. Nine of the men could see the people of Canaan only as giants and themselves as grasshoppers compared to them. The nine wanted to shrink back from the land of Canaan.
Only Caleb was not intimidated by the size of the people. He said, “‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’ But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’” Numbers 13:30
Why didn’t Caleb shrink back from the land of Canaan? He explains, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into the land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:8-9)
When miracles are big, we remember the miracle rather than that it’s God behind the miracle. Moses had led the people of Israel out of Egypt with many life-saving miracles. The people of Israel would not deny the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. They could see and eat bread or manna each morning, they drank the water God provided in the desert wilderness, yet their miracles, both large and small, did not translate into their trust in God.
The physical body God gives us is full of everyday miracles. It is a miracle we daily breathe, move, see, hear and talk. Recognizing our everyday miracles helps us to trust in God.