in Relief Society today we learned about the nature of miracles. It was a brilliant class, and our teacher, my wonderful friend Ferne, emphasised that miracles are not necessarily always mountain-moving occurrences; but they can be even small things that are sprinkled in our lives. As she taught, I realised how dangerous it is that we often discount real miraculous blessings in our lives for the nugatory or ordinary. One girl in our class even called this “rebellious.”
We studied the word “miracle” in the Bible Dictionary: “Miracles should not be regarded as deviations from the ordinary course of nature so much as manifestations of divine or spiritual power.” Even small miracles signify the presence and the works of God!
As part of the lesson, I studied the story recorded in John (9) of a man, blind from birth, who was healed. I noticed a couple of important things:
1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
— I stopped at this point in my study and considered the disciples’ question. It’s a question not unfamiliar to me. I have often found myself wondering if my un-success could be related to some element of unworthiness: is it because I’m not measuring up? It’s funny how the natural man in us Goes so quickly to pessimistic views of the self. In the world today, the climate of faith is so poor that many come to the conclusion that there must not be a God if such awful things happen. But how humbling to consider the Christ’s response: that this condition was an opportunity for a miracle to be given, and to be given at the right time.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
8 ¶The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.
10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
—- I wondered why Ferne had asked us to read this far into the story. He’s healed: the miracle has happened, but the story goes on. It’s important to note that our God is merciful, and the saviour, who lived and served in ways that taught principles by example, recognised this opportunity to include this man in working the miracle. He makes a clay and touches the mans eyes. That could have been the end of the miracle: healed, blindness gone, finished. But he calls upon the man to complete the miracle- invited him to take charge of part two. The blind man had the choice, and was required to have the faith and obedience to go down to the pool and wash. Only then was his blindness lifted. Because of his faith and obedience and hard work, he shared in working a miracle with deity, by the power of deity.
That’s what we are invited to do. The gospel is an invitation to learn and to walk the path of the Savious, to strive to be like Him. The miracles I see in my life all involve the work of God, yes, but also the work and faith and obedience of others striving to be like Him.