The headline made me stop scrolling: “Man Declared Dead, Comes Back to Life After 45 Minutes.”
I clicked through to read the details. The man’s wife had been woken up by his irregular breathing. Without any warning, he’d gone into full cardiac arrest and was rushed to the emergency room. The doctors had done all they could to revive him, but he was later pronounced dead.
When family was called into his room to say goodbye, his son stridently declared out loud that his dad would not die that day. Minutes later, the father’s heart began to beat irregularly and a week later he left the hospital. No heart transplant needed. No vegetative state. He was fully recovered.
Doctors were stunned and they declared it a miracle. The father said prayers and God’s work had saved him.
We’d also prayed for a miracle and begged God to restart a heart.
When I awoke to Dan’s irregular breathing and cardiac arrest, you better believe I had prayed. I had prayed the entire time I was doing chest compressions. I had prayed out loud while the EMTs were working on him. Long after the ER doctor pronounced him dead, I prayed that God would bring him back to life.
Why is it that God does a miracle for one but not for another? Why are some miraculously healed but others are not?
Here’s what we need to know when God doesn’t give us the miracle we’ve prayed for.
1. Miracles are by definition, not normative.
Miracles will never happen every time in every circumstance or they would cease to be miracles. Miracles are rare instances for an outcome with no human explanation.
I still wish we’d had a miracle. Maybe you’ve prayed for one as well. But if God met every circumstance with a miracle, well, they would never make the news. They’d be ho-hum, normal, predictable non-miracles.
2. Miracles are not about outcomes but God’s glory.
Jesus performed many miracles but they were never an end in themselves. They were always meant to reveal His divinity and display His glory.
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4.
And after He healed blind Bartimaeus, Bartimaeus “followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people when they saw it, gave praise to God.” Luke 18:43
Though our flesh wants every problem solved, this life is about glorifying God whether we get a miracle or not.