How I Gained Insight into God's Present-Day Works through Song
I know many readers need hope in their struggles. But how can we hope that God will deliver us when He seems distant?
We start thinking, "I know God is the same God that did all those miraculous wonders in the Old Testament. He even gave the first New Testament Christians power to do some pretty amazing healing. But He sure doesn't seem to do those kind of miracles anymore, at least not in my life." Or does He?
While listening to the song by Hawk Nelson, “He Still Does (Miracles)” I realized that though jaw-dropping miracles don't happen in my life, God may be doing other works that could be seen as miracles, if I look at them the right way.
These lines from the song reference specific miracles from the Old Testament but can also be taken figuratively to represent modern-day “miracles” in my everyday life—and yours. When we see His hand working miracles, our faith will grow stronger, and we will remain faithful to the Faithful, Almighty One. We can trust in God to still work mightily in our lives, waiting patiently for His deliverance and guidance.
1. “Like a Fire in the Night...”
What does this refer to? The fire in the night must refer to the pillar of fire that the children of Israel followed in the forty years of wilderness wandering (Exodus 13:21). This pillar provided several things:
Protection: Exodus 14:19-20 shows how the pillar of fire kept the Egyptians from attacking during the night.
Direction: Exodus 13:21 says it allowed them to travel by day or by night and showed them which way to go. He also provides with guidance, clarity in which way to go. This is discussed more fully in the next section.
Presence: Psalms 46:1 (ESV) affirms: “God is our very present help in trouble.” Both their night traveling and definitely the Egyptians intent to destroy them represented trouble. But He was right there with them the entire time. And His presence is a miracle as He stays right there with us during our fears, our problems, our failures, our depression. If we are His children, He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5).
Comfort: Because of His protection, direction, presence, and clarity, we can take comfort in our God.
Light: Another often overlooked benefit of the pillar of fire was the light. Yes, it showed them the way as they followed. But it also provided a light in the dark, something their eyes could latch onto instead of stumbling around in the dark. It was a physical representation of the truth and holiness of God.
2. “Like the Ocean Parted Wide...”
What could this refer to? The only bodies of water that were parted were the Red Sea and Jordan River. I don't think the river would be as massive as an ocean, so I'm assuming the song is talking about the parting of the Red Sea.
The children of Israel had no idea how God could deliver them from the Egyptians at that time. They looked like they were trapped. They saw the sea as the obstacle keeping them from escaping. Then suddenly God told Moses to hold up his staff and be the instrument used in this miracle.
Sometimes we may not see any way out. We may feel like we're trapped, like there is nothing more to be done. But at the very last second, God can still provide direction and guidance. And after they passed through the Red Sea, they had no idea where they were going next. The Lord rarely shows anyone their entire journey. If He did, we would be too overwhelmed and scared.
But He will give us the very next step when we need it. Not before. Oh, no. He doesn't usually work that way. He wants us to rely on Him for every single step of the way. And guess what? Every single step is a mini-miracle. Every time you hear, “'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:21, NLT), that is an instance when God steps in and leads us out of the natural through a supernatural mini-miracle of spiritual guidance.
It's something that has to be experienced to be explained. The trick is to keep listening for His voice. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:11). But a lamp doesn't shine very far. And sometimes His voice is a mere whisper and hard to hear (1 Kings 19:9-13). But He wants our spiritual ears to always be turned towards Him and tuned to hear His voice.
He is our Good Shepherd, and the more time we spend with Him (instead of wandering off on our own all the time), the more we will become familiar with His voice.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27, NLT).
3. “Like the Grave Empty Inside...”
There's only one miracle this could be referring to. Of course, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was the greatest miracle of all.
And yes, I understand that all of us believers have been resurrected from eternal death to eternal life. And Salvation was definitely a miracle. But that was one time in my past. How does that apply to me now?
What about Sanctification? What a miracle that the Holy Spirit is continually creating, transforming me into the likeness of Jesus! That's definitely not natural; it takes a supernatural work of God to accomplish that. So every day that I allow the Spirit to transform me more into the Son is another miracle of metamorphis—in me, of all people! And He's making a miracle of you [“Mended” by Matthew West].
4. Worship Song Scavenger Hunt
In the middle of writing this post, I had a special moment with God, or rather a special hour. While washing dishes, a chore I detest, I usually play worship music to turn it into a special time for me to just spend time worshiping God. This time I put on my Christian music playlist on YouTube [CCM upbeat songs] and I set it to Shuffle. Sometimes YouTube's shuffle option doesn't shuffle very well, often giving me the same song three times while skipping others completely.
However, this time, the shuffle algorithm gave me layer-upon-layer of wonderful song lyrics that enforce this message.
I put these into a separate playlist called Miracles Scavenger Hunt for you.
“Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle = “...when You don't part the waters I wish I could walk through... I will trust in You.” →
“Made New” by Lincoln Brewster = “You give me hope... You hold my head up; You remind me who I am.” →
“Giants Fall” by Francesca Battistelli = “Miracles can happen, anything is possible; Watch the giants fall.” →
“All I Can Do (Thank You)” by Mike'sChair = giving back my talents for His use is the way I say, “Thank You.” →
“Trust in Jesus” by Third Day = I will try to do my best, but I still need to trust in Jesus for individual decisions and career choices; I've already made the most important decision. →
“Write Your Story” by Francesca Battistelli = Though I'm the author of my stories, God is the Author of my life story and my ultimate inspiration (stay tuned for more about this). :) →
“What Faith Can Do” by Kutless = “I've seen... miracles just happen... impossible is not a word, it's just a reason for someone not to try.”
Now, I don't agree with every word in this song. For example, "that's what Faith can do" is really a misnomer. It's not my faith that does the miracle, although it's important. But there were people Jesus healed that didn't have faith; their friends or family did (see Luke 5:20 & Luke 7:9). We should have faith in, putting our lives in the hands of, the living God. It's the Object of our faith that performs the miracles; my faith doesn't do it, He does.
Also, I don't agree that "impossible is not a word," because it obviously is in the dictionary. I understand that they're saying that it's an excuse, that "with God, everything is possible." But there are technically a few things that are impossible for God, like sinning or lying or ceasing to exist (see this article: 7 Things God Cannot Do). These are against His nature; if He did them, He wouldn't be God. But since He is God, He will never do these things.
The point of the song that I want to bring up, though is miracles can "just happen, silent prayers [do] get answered." Maybe not answered in the way we want or within the time frame we want, but God hears us and answers according to what's bests for us, because He is our Father. →
"Good, Good Father" by Chris Tomlin = "I've seen many searching for answers far and wide. I know we're all searching for answers only You provide, 'cause You know just what we need before we say a word. You're a good, good Father, it's who You are..." →
“Good to Be Alive” by Jason Gray = “...The joy that we get brings joy to the heart of the Giver...I want to live... like I'm on borrowed time.” →
“Speak Life” by TobyMac = if I'm only here a limited amount of time, then I want to make every moment count by speaking life instead of death into others' lives; I'm still working on this. [For more, see my posts on words in May here and here.] →
“Your Love, O Lord” by Third Day = This played twice on my Shuffle. The first time I didn't really notice anything from it; but when it played again, I wondered if it was a sign from the Lord saying, “You missed it last time. You'd better take notice this time.” So I paid more attention to the lyrics and found a visual to help me recognize the ebb and flow of God's justice and mercy. “Your justice flows like the oceans tide...”
Conclusion: “You will see He still does Miracles!”
Though the miracles God works today may not be as over-the-top and magnificent to the naked eye as in the Old Testament, He is definitely not silent. We can trust Him to still work supernaturally in us every day, as we surrender to His will.