What examples come to mind when you hear the word miracle? I think of the ancient miracles found in the scriptures: the parting of the Red Sea, the birth of Christ, Christ healing people and raising some from the dead, and Christ’s resurrection, to name a few. What about modern-day miracles? I think of beating cancer, surviving what should have been a fatal accident, or other incredible healing or protection stories.
But what if those kinds of stories don’t apply to you? What if someone you know and love doesn’t survive a terminal illness or survive a devastating accident? Can miracles still be found in your life? According to Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, of the Seventy, the answer is yes. Elder Hallstrom suggested that perhaps we need to look at a deeper understanding of what a miracle is in order to see more miracles around us. He said:
“My limited knowledge cannot explain why sometimes there is divine intervention and other times there is not. But perhaps we lack an understanding of what constitutes a miracle.
Often we describe a miracle as being healed without a full explanation by medical science or as avoiding catastrophic danger by heeding a clear prompting. However, defining a miracle as “a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand” gives an expanded perspective into matters more eternal in nature.”
“A beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand.” That sounds a lot like a blessing. Can some of our blessings also be considered miracles? I believe so.
In the popular Broadway musical The Fiddler on the Roof, Motel the tailor asks Tevye for his permission to marry his daughter Tzeitel. Even though Motel broke tradition by not using a matchmaker, Tevye gave his permission for the two to marry. In the next scene Motel sings a song about miracles. In the song Motel lists several miracles found in the Old Testament, and then compares those miracles to his life:
“But of all God’s miracles large and small,
The most miraculous one of all
Is that out of a worthless lump of clay,
God has made a man today…
But of all God’s miracles large and small,
The most miraculous one of all
Is the one I thought could never be:
God has given you to me!”
Motel saw that the miracles in his own life were just as miraculous as the ones found in the scriptures. In fact, he considers the miracles in his life more miraculous because he understands that they are personal gifts from God. I believe that looking at our own personal miracles that way is extremely beneficial. It becomes much easier to see God’s hand in our life when we can acknowledge the “little” miracles in our lives.
Elder Hallstrom taught that we must have faith before a miracle happens, and we must continue to have faith if a miracle doesn’t go the way we want. He shared the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego from the Old Testament. They were threatened by King Nebuchadnezzar to either worship his chosen idols or be executed in a furnace. Their response:
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)
They had faith that God had the power to save them, but they also had faith in God’s individual plan for them. They were going to choose faith and righteousness regardless of the temporal consequences because they knew that the eternal consequences are much more satisfactory.
Elder Hallstrom asked some very important questions that can help us have that kind of faith.
“Do we have the faith “not [to] be healed” from our earthly afflictions so we might be healed eternally?
A critical question to ponder is “Where do we place our faith?” Is our faith focused on simply wanting to be relieved of pain and suffering, or is it firmly centered on God the Father and His holy plan and in Jesus the Christ and His Atonement? Faith in the Father and the Son allows us to understand and accept Their will as we prepare for eternity.”
The very best example we can follow in having faith in God’s will is Jesus Christ. When He prayed in Gethsemane before He was betrayed and arrested, He asked Heavenly Father three times to “remove this cup.” However, in asking to be saved from such pain Christ emphasized that He would still follow God’s will. God did not remove the cup, but He did send an angel to comfort and strengthen Jesus. (See Matthew 26:38-44, Mark 14:34-41, Luke 22:39-45.) It is important that we have the same attitude when we look and ask for miracles. When we have faith and a willingness to follow His plan, we will be able to see the countless blessings and miracles that Heavenly Father sends us.
I would like to conclude with Elder Hallstrom’s conclusion:
“No matter our ethnicity, no matter our nationality, no matter what we have done if we repent, no matter what may have been done to us—all of us have equal access to these miracles. We are living a miracle, and further miracles lie ahead.”