Other Gods

I was invited to be pulpit fill for a Pierpont Presbyterian, a nice rural Ohio congregation.  We talked about the problem of “Other Gods“.   See if any of the “Other Gods” identified surprise you, or make you think.

(link should start at 36:00 in the service, where the sermon begins.  Sermon is 18 minutes.  For context, responsive reading starts at 33:50 )

Do Miracles Happen?

One night, when I was about five years old, my parents were out at bedtime, so the babysitter put us to bed. Once she had said good night, she pulled the string attached to the overhead light, but it did not go out. She tried again several times, then I tried it as well, but to no avail. She said I would have to try to sleep with the light on, and then left the room. Imagine a 5 year old trying to go to sleep, looking up into a two-bulb fluorescent light. I decided to pray to God about it, too young to think that it might be too small a thing to bother God with. After praying, I got out of bed and pulled the string once. The light went off.

Why did it not go off for twenty-some previous tries? Why did it only go off after my prayer? Was it 1) a specific act of God, or was it 2) entirely a mechanical happenstance?

Your answer reflects merely your presuppositions and worldview. None of us know the condition of that switch before or after the incident. We can only speculate on whether there was a natural cause to obtain the effect of the light going out.

Your answer to this question also informs you on how close-minded you are: If you immediately ruled out either choice, then you are close-minded, and there is not much point in you continuing to read this article. In fact, if you chose answer #2 it is especially silly of you to read an article entitled “Do Miracles Happen?” because you have already chosen to ignore any information or argument that could be given.

Albert Einstein, I’m told said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The sitter and I were not insane, having finally given up after many attempts, all variations on the theme. Pulling faster, slower, in rapid succession, at angles. All physical changes relying on the natural world, to no avail. But then a child made a simple-minded appeal to the supernatural and something changed.

Thankfully we are not born close-minded. Children are open-minded and we only grow close-minded as we get older. As I got older, as a mechanically-inclined thinker, I certainly considered the possibility that there was merely some mechanical reason why the light switch behaved that way. And I certainly at times was more inclined to believe that than to think that some supernatural force came to bear. Why would a huge God bother to do something so trivial? But what I find is that the more I discover about this God, the more I realize that it is the fact that He is infinitely huge that enables Him to take great interest in all the details of His creation and His created beings. I wish I could say that I totally believed in God from that day on – I’m sure my life would have been more powerful if I had. But I do believe God is there, He answers prayer, and I can know Him by following what I read in the Bible.

Does a light switch going on constitute a miracle? Perhaps not in the larger, Biblical sense of the word. But it certainly can be a supernatural event. If you have not closed your mind, and you take the time to observe, and you don’t demand your own way, you will see God supernaturally at work in the small things of life.

%d bloggers like this: