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God of Miracles or Providence?
Why don't we see more miracles?
If you have ever heard someone speak of a miracle you probably, responded with some skepticism. Don’t worry, we are meant to believe God when we know it is him, not someone who claims a miracle happened and not even necessarily that a miracle is taking place when something we didn’t foresee happened. A miracle in physical terms is defined as a suspension of or an event that defies natural laws as a result of divine or supernatural intervention. The above is said because it has been reportedly observed that demonic possession can have natural law-defying moments which does not make it God doing the intervening. One may go their entire lives without seeing a miracle, not because of their lack of faith or God’s potency to do them. However, perhaps we are missing the “miracle of the present”, God’s Providence, as distinct from miracles.
First let us consider the concept. To many perhaps, Providence may be a new and confounding word, so let us define it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines this saying: “We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection: By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, "reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well". For "all are open and laid bare to his eyes", even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.”. Earlier in the same paragraph, it spoke of the goodness of the created order. Providence is little else than God working in and through His creation as opposed to violating the order He established to bring us back to Him. This is the most notable in the Incarnation where Jesus does not just appear but takes on Human flesh through the natural process our souls take in flesh, even if His conception was miraculous. Reportedly, His early life was very status quo, with a few moments of his divinity shining through, until His baptism. Moreover, it seems in the development of man's relationship with God, this is the primary mode in which God's hand reaches us.
Second, when discussing providence less as a concept and more as an experience, it is very easy to find a saint especially one in religious life, that witnesses to this. Some may colloquially speak of Providence as miraculous and although they don’t mean it as our definition of miracles above, they do still intend to describe how awe-inspiring it is. After all, it is God transcending His creation to love us i.e. to will our good from His role as creator. Miracles, indeed, can be a part of this when we fail to see God’s loving reach otherwise but sometimes the whole point of never giving a miracle is to insist, that He is already loving us in ways we fail to see. The Pharisees and Herodians are prime examples of seeing miracles and not seeing the point. Time and again Jesus would work miracles claiming to be the God and Creator before their eyes, loving them in the ways they wanted, and instead of believing this, they get angrier and angrier because they will not open their hearts to the possibility. We still do this, God will try to reach us through a priest, a sacrament, a friend, and we abandon Him there because we misunderstand God’s transcendental love both in nature and expression.
In conclusion, if we wonder why we have not been given a miracle, perhaps it is not providential, which is to say for our good. Perhaps, most of the time, miracles are not providential because they would actually fail in bringing us to feel and understand God’s love. It is our part to rest in “God’s arms”, God does not have any arms, but he has a will, and that will is love and mercy. If you don’t see how some aspect of your life was meant for your good, keep looking because you may well find one day that His Love was always there. Pain can be so blinding; it can harden our hearts to the point we no longer see goodness in things or people. Our attachment to the way we wish things ought to be is often the reason for this. Whereas God alone is good, He has been embracing us in his will in all the good things in our lives. Sometimes we live a whole life of great things, and we experience a singular traumatic event, and we count reality itself as a curse, but this is the wrong detail to focus on. All of the good we experience we take for granted but maybe we should be thankful that God has our greatest good in mind and will, instead of believing He is an all-evil god who may allow good to accomplish the greatest evil.
1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 302.