Escape from Adversity– Miracles and More
Sometimes miracles just happen.
In a sudden, surprise squall of God’s love, blessings shower down from heaven and we get drenched in His mercy and kindness.
Other times we’re instantly deputized to step in, catalyze, be caught up and act in one volitionally.
Martha, the church secretary, was escorting us to our car. It had been a God blessed women’s meeting that we led in her church. As we were stepping out into the late afternoon sunlight, God spoke to me, “I want you to pray for her.” I knew what He wanted: Martha was a lifetime hunchback with a large protrusion at her right shoulder. This was something that I had never been confronted with before.
She eagerly replied, “Yes,” as I asked her if she would like me to pray for her. I didn’t really know what to do but decided to speak something in the Lord’s name and lay my hand on the deformity. But as I touched the afflicted area, all I could get out of my mouth was, “In Jesus’ name,” and the hump collapsed like a child’s toy balloon being released of air.
It was a miracle.
Today, most consider that germs: bacteria, microbes and viruses can bring sickness, infirmity, illness and death into a person’s life. But that belief would not have been so defensible before Leeuwenhoek perfected the microscope in the late 17th century allowing us to see things that were not discernible to the unaided eye. Today we can accept, electricity, atomic radiation and magnetism as demonstrable effects. But somehow, when we get to spiritual matters, the pragmatist seems to spring to life within, both Christians and non-Christians alike.
We would not be writing this book except that disbelief abounds worldwide when it comes to spiritual cause and effect. The concept of miraculous and spiritual causes for earthly conditions and events seems to be abhorrent to most, probably because we have no internal yardstick for it. But this very unbelief keeps us from the relief God has provided from many of our life’s problems.
Many believe that there was an actual Jesus who died on the cross for our sins that we might enter heaven (although we’ve never seen that place). But few, even Christians, have a grasp that Jesus also bought our well-being for this earthly life, but He did. Each year, some six million go to Lourdes, France hoping they might miraculously be helped or healed. Others would wear copper bands, magnets, amulets and medals, ingest powdered rhino horns and other materials, or seek help from various rituals, ceremonies and deities. But most never find relief through these wrongly directed activities.
Yet, miracles do happen, and we believe in them. Sometimes there are miraculous healings, and rescues. Most of us, at some point in our life, would wish for a miracle, some kind of favor, that defies reason in its accomplishment. In ancient Greek drama, there was often a point where the hero/ heroine would be caught facing certain death with no possible extraction from the situation – Will this end in tragedy the audience is wondering and then comes miraculous deliverance – the term is deus-ex-machina, a “god” was lowered via a crane into the drama to redeem the situation without recompense, process or explanation.
We were ministering in a small church near Nyíregyháza, Hungary when a mother came up to me and explained that her seven-year-old daughter was blind in one eye. I had a great conviction of spirit that God wanted to heal the girl, but God asked me to have her school mates pray for her, laying their hands over the blind eye. As the children asked God (for a miracle) to heal the eye, immediately she began to have sight where there was none before. The pastor of the church covered the girl’s formerly only good eye and led her around the church having her read various wall hanging texts which she did flawlessly. It was a bonafide miracle.
In these real-life stories just recounted, one common thread linking them together is each was initiated unilaterally by God, not man seeking help and being answered. A question that we might ask then is, “What about man-initiated miracles?” Is it possible to seek God’s mercy and truly see Him enter the situation to bring help? Could we expect to see people and situations helped at our initiation? By now you may be expecting the answer, which is yes, but how is this possible? We’ll be examining the how’s in the remaining chapters.
A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws. These events are often attributed to a supernatural (outside the laws of nature) being, i.e., a god, magic or a miracle worker, a now dead saint (like Mary, Peter, Christopher) or some kind of religious leader or guru. Miracles are usually associated with a beneficial action towards a person or group of people. But another associated factor in miracles is that they often seem to come without any merited favor, compensation paid nor at any particular time. Some visiting Lourdes or other “holy” pilgrimage site may make vows to God or financial offerings to attain favor or healing, but others do not. In the end, most go home without the favor they were seeking.
But there is another kind of miracle, not explainable by natural or scientific laws. A miracle that is not so seemingly capricious: attainable by any Christian, one which can happen without the favor of a dead saint, religious leader, guru, idol, magician, doctor special food, substance, ritual or incantation. These can be obtained in any country using any language and are not conditional on being particularly religious. It is these that we are going to focus on and impart the ability to initiate, give to others and receive for yourself.
Blessings and Curses
In exploring miracles, we were examining the transition or release process, subjectively a doorway to relief from disfavor. In this section, we are examining our condition, either living in the land of curse (adversity) or the land of blessings (health, prosperity and well-being). While miracles seem to be an overt intervention of goodness coming into an often difficult or hopeless situation, there is something more: the reasons for our dwelling in favor or disfavor. If we’re going to receive the promise of the last paragraph above, to escape from adversity, then we’ll need some help to make a paradigm shift in our thinking to enter another level of understanding and acting that leads to release. Are you ready for this?
Sometimes God just wants to intervene in a situation and that’s His privilege. But there is another pathway to relief; He has also made it possible for us to improve our lot in life by understanding and applying certain principles (provisions of God). While documented in the Bible these principles are seldom used by most Christians. It is these that we want to illuminate for you that you may pick them up and use them to help yourself, your family and others. In a sense, these provisions are doorways to supernatural benefits. As we discover the available doorways, we may use God’s keys to freedom to initiate passage to the land of blessings, prosperity, health and wellbeing.
The doorways between the land of blessings and the land of adversity are documented statutes that influence our lives. They are accessible to us through understanding basic spiritual laws. Through these we can improve our lot in life. Many are based in the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch). Some are clearly stated in Deuteronomy 27 where Moses recites a long list of curses – doorways to the land of adversity. Ok, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but it’s good to know where we’re going to end up.
Natural Lands of Disfavor
Favor and disfavor might be a gentler way of beginning to explore this topic. Let’s bridge into this first by looking at the natural realm then exploring the spiritual realm and its principles. First in a simple natural example.
If our family were farmers and they had emigrated to a land where there was sparse rainfall and depleted soil, then we could expect to encounter small harvests, poor crops and a difficult life. Now several generations later, when we are born into a situation that was not of our making: we are in an unfavorable place because of our family’s past generational decisions. But, by now, the family has developed coping mechanisms, adopted the culture and language of the region and has a rich resource in familial relationships, yet they suffer because of a poor or uninformed choice by their forbears.
Spiritual Lands of Disfavor
Spiritually, many of us are in such a situation resulting from the poor or uninformed choices either we or our generational lineage made. While it is quite clear in the natural case of farmers living in a poor climate with a poor soil condition where we are held in the prison of cultural attachment and acclimation, it is not so obvious in the spiritual ream. It is this that we want to explore further to bring you relief through the Doorways to Relief (blessings or escape) that God has made available: in a sense they are miracles available through application of God’s statutory provisions. Let’s explore this further to see how it works. It’s simple and you don’t have to be a theologian to discover and use these.
There are behavioral places that are not rich in soil, nor favorable in climate to where either we or our family before us have emigrated. While we will look at this further in Chapter 1, there is a great eye-opener in Jeremiah.
Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. “For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. Jeremiah 17: 5-8
This Scripture introduces us to the concept that our behavior, internal and external, can result in favor or disfavor for our whole life. These are either curses (disfavor) or blessings (maybe even miracles) that we can initiate, and God will bring the results. Our earthly behavior can sometimes be, in fact, a spiritual cause with effects that pour down from the heavenlies into our earthly lives. Most of us are unaware of these.
The first thing that we can learn from Jeremiah 17 is that our behavior and beliefs can determine our earthly destiny (not to mention our spiritual destiny – heaven or hell). Further, here we are also introduced to the concept of favor (blessings) and it’s opposite, disfavor (curse). Spiritually, most of us live in an era similar to pre-Leeuwenhoekian times. But if you are willing, your eyes can be opened to observe, through the lens of Scripture, the world of earthly, behavioral cause and the resulting effects coming from the spiritual realms. With awareness, you than can make some choices to better your condition.
Scripture the Compound Microscope – Seeing into the Spiritual Realm
The Israelites had been wandering for forty years in the wilderness and were poised to cross over into the promised land. But, they had yet to have a deep understanding of God’s ways and God’s heart. It was Moses’ task to prepare them for success in conquering their inheritance. They were locked into a level of religiosity that focused more on performance rather than intimacy with God. We shouldn’t be too critical of them though - In their dispensation, the Holy Spirit chiefly interacted with prophets, priests and finally with kings. Therefore, in those days, God’s people were indeed, spiritually, more like children in their understanding of God’s heart and His ways (perhaps some of us are not too far away from this ourselves). In God’s successive revelation to His people, He began by having Moses bring written as well as spoken guidelines for how to live their lives on earth. They needed to have rules to obey, so that they wouldn’t run afoul of God’s undergirding spiritual construct that holds the earth and universe together. Like children, they needed to know what was good and what was not to avoid bringing trouble on themselves. To take and hold the lands promised to Abraham, they would need to be operating in God’s blessings, and not be under curse. Interestingly, the same precepts apply to us today.
In Deuteronomy, Moses begins to construct God’s supernatural, verbal, microscope to help the Israelites begin to understand the connection between behavior and the rewards of life. What he wrote and spoke was not his in origin, as he stood between God and His people in a prophetic, priestly and leadership (king-like) position. He answered to God for the lives he was leading and to the people for how they perceived God was treating them. As Moses’ life and ministry was coming to a close, the people would have to go on without him: they needed a behavioral guideline.
Deuteronomy, the last book of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, all written by Moses), reiterates many of God’s requirements from the first four books of the Bible for internal and external behavior. They are parental in nature, designed to keep God’s people holy (in position to be blessed, i.e., away from curse) and out of difficulties. This book carries with it a pattern of conduct that could be viewed as authoritarian: In some senses it is much like the treatment any parent would give a small child. When we are children, we cannot understand the whys, but we can begin to obey our parent’s commands to keep us safe and begin to grow into godly maturity. But underlying God’s parental requirements is a network of truth about how to prosper within God’s supernatural system that governs our earthly world and the universe. We need this truth today.
Doorways of Escape
As we develop the following chapters, each one focusing on a different aspect of personal and people group behavior, we will be examining some of the underlying principles expressed through Moses. We will see how they may touch your life today and where you are experiencing difficulties because of your and your family’s non-compliance with God’s ways: An avenue of escape is provided through our New Testament relationship with Jesus and His work on the cross for us: We just need the keys to the doors of escape. Doorways of Escape then, are statutory (legal) spiritual provisions of God which bridge from the land of disfavor into the land of blessings. The surprise, for many, is discovering the connection between our and our forbear’s behavior and many of life’s troubles, i.e., our sufferings are often the result of living outside of the boundaries of favor. When our life practices are bringing disfavor (sickness, illness, poverty, lack of intimacy, rejection and more), if we can begin to bring our behavior into compliance with God’s ways it is possible to see healing of our conditions. But first, we must realize that we are somehow living in the land of adversity (curse) and then discover the doorway we need to get into the land of blessings.
As we will develop in the following chapters, while our entry into heaven is guaranteed by salvation, our relief from sin’s earthly consequences is a process that we can initiate to receive some of God’s miracles through His statutory provisions.
As you continue in this book, you will begin to gain new insights into the ever present, invisible sources of favor and disfavor that, pour down into our lives as we open the floodgates, either knowingly or unknowingly by our beliefs and actions in the natural realms of creation.
We’ve discovered that God is still in the business of performing miracles. Sometimes He just decides to do them all by Himself and at other times He involves people in bringing about His divine purposes. These miracles we could classify as unilateral miracles where God alone is involved in initiating the action. As we continued, it was discovered that there is another category of miracle, something that we can initiate using God’s hidden-in plain-sight statutory provisions. When using these, God has promised (bound Himself) to enter, bringing about the result of relief. These provisions are needed when we or our family have taken life pathways that are outside of God’s ways. Here, He will meet us in the lands of disfavor extending His statutory relief. Should we choose to get back on course with God, the doorways from adversity to favor from Him are there. We’ll examine this concept further as we begin Chapter 1.