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Larry Barkdull
Wednesday, November 17 2010

Miracles Reveal the Character of God

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(This article was adapted from my new book, The Three Pillars of Zion. Click here to receive a free sample. Use this code in the coupon box for a 20% Christmas discount: Meridian. Good until December 15th.)

In every miracle, God reveals something of His character and attributes. Miracles are inexplicable by the laws of nature. We receivers cannot duplicate them. Large or small, the miracles of God attest to his nearness and his interest in our welfare. From time to time we glimpse him delivering unexpected bouquets of affection, those almost anonymous offerings that communicate, “I am aware. I am near. I love you.”

The miracles of God often arrive when extraordinary help is needed. Miracles provide us evidence of the existence of God and illustrate his active involvement in our lives. God’s miracles provide hope, are rewards for and anchor faith, and demonstrate that our prayers are heard and answers come. Here is a miracles story that reveals the foreknowledge of God.

The Rusty Bucket of Rainwater

My mother was a woman of great faith. It was Mother’s practice to never let a day go by without praying to God for his watchful care. When I was a small child growing up in Monroe Louisiana, Mother had a dream one night that she was driving along a country road with my sister and me playing in the back seat of the car.

En route, my mother suddenly glanced in the rearview mirror and saw smoke and flames shooting from the trunk area. Quickly, she pulled to the side of the road, jumped out, and began searching for something to douse the flames. In a nearby gully, she spotted a rusty bucket filled with rainwater. Grabbing it, she ran back to the car and emptied the bucket on the fire.

A strange dream, my mother thought as she awoke. And she let it go at that.

The next morning, Mother piled my sister and me into the car for a sixty-mile trip to attend Sacrament Meeting. About halfway there, on an infrequently traveled road, she was suddenly startled to see flames and smoke rising from the trunk of the car. My sister and I were frightened, but because of her dream Mother knew what to do.

Pulling over to the side of the road, she quickly got out, ran about ten yards to a nearby gully, located a rusty bucket of rainwater, and extinguished the fire. Then, catching her breath and offering a simple prayer of gratitude, she settled back in the car and drove to church.

Becoming Acquainted with and Learning to Trust God

People who receive miracles from God often consider their experiences as holy ground whereon they become acquainted with the Giver. Diverse and intimately personal, gifts are woven from a common loom, summoning within their owners deep confidence in their Father in Heaven. Placing hope in the Giver of gifts proves not to be a vain effort after all.

Sometimes receivers of miracles experience miraculous intervention, and other times miracles come as quiet love notes. In either case, those who receive the miracles experience an increase of faith so that when they encounter difficulty again, they are better equipped to once more appeal to a loving Father who has the ability to help, is indeed aware, and cares enough to help. Receivers of miracles believe that their hope is anchored to something substantial. Simply put, they believe they are not alone.

This is not to say that there is an equation for God’s intervention: A+B=C. Our definition of deliverance is seldom God’s definition. We can dictate neither timelines nor terms. Nevertheless, we can be absolutely confident that our every prayer is heard and counts, and that somewhere in the process of working through, a divine encounter will happen. A son in Utah recounts:

When Mother was dying of cancer, she asked for a blessing to know the will of the Lord. I agreed to give the blessing, but I knew it would be the hardest of my life. Not that it would be harder for the Lord. I knew that he could heal cancer as easily as a cold. But for me, I had to prepare. I dared not approach this blessing casually.

Over the next few days, I attended the temple and prayed and humbled myself before the Lord. I read the scriptures about miraculous manifestations of power and healing. I counseled with wise men that had spent a lifetime exercising their priesthood righteously. Then I began to fast. I would not eat until the blessing was given. Mother lived six hours away.

As I drove through the night, I prayed continuously. I attempted to remove all doubt from my mind. I knew that God could heal Mother; I knew that the priesthood was the power; I knew that the ordinance of anointing and sealing had been revealed for this very purpose. I had come to that point of confidence and clarity. I pushed aside the temptation to craft words and plan the blessing. I had no desire to be eloquent or clever. I only wanted to plainly state what would be dictated by the inspiration of the Spirit—and remarkably, I now felt fully prepared to pronounce the promise of healing and witness a miracle.

I will not recount my reaction to stepping into Mother’s room and witnessing her frail, weakened body. My emotions were so tender. I loved my mother. How I longed for divine permission to say the words of healing. Our family knelt in prayer. We pled for a miracle. I was sure it would come.

It did.

At the moment I laid my hands upon my mother’s head, the Spirit said, “No.”

I wasn’t prepared for the answer. I felt Mother relax and concede under my hands. The miracle followed--sweet words of comfort and peace, every word dictated by a loving influence that

knew her and understood her pain. Mom was going home.

Miracles Build Faith in God

In the Lectures on Faith, the Prophet Joseph Smith laid out the fundamentals of our achieving faith in God. Imperative in that process is our having a correct idea of God’s perfect attributes of character, including power, knowledge and love. Hope and faith in God turn on the belief that he possesses these and other attributes in perfection.

Otherwise, what’s the use in petitioning God at all?

In times of urgency, we hope that God has the power to help, we hope that he is aware of us, and we hope that he loves us enough to rush to our rescue. We reach out to God and plead for his miracles because we believe that he has both the ability and the disposition to grant them. In the end, perhaps there is no better way to know him. Here is a story that reveals the power of God.

Falling off the Roof on Halloween Night

My son, Jon and his friends, then teenagers, had tired of trick or treating years earlier. One of the boys was the son of my friend, Lee. His roof could be easily climbed and often was by his children. It required little effort for a nimble 16-year-old to mount the fence and put a leg up and roll onto the roof.


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