Dr. Hal Brady
In one of his columns, the late Lewis Grizzard described standing outside the church in his hometown of Moreland, Georgia on a cold day. It had been at least 10 years since he had been inside, but his roots were there.
As he reminisced about the youth group that met on Sunday nights, he recalled how two rowdy boys in town broke into a store and were required to attend the youth group for six months as punishment. The first night they attended, Grizzard recalled, they beat up two boys and threw a hymn book at the nice woman who led the group and always brought the cookies. Fortunately, she ducked just in time. Grizzard remembered her words to the boys: “I don’t approve of what you boys did here tonight, and neither does Jesus. But if He can forgive you, I guess I can, too.” Then she handed them the cookies.
The last Grizzard heard both boys had grown up to become “good daddies” and seldom missed a Sunday in church. Grizzard concluded that was the first miracle he ever saw.
Mildly stated, this issue of miracles has been a troubling one. Do miracles still happen? This has been one of the biggest and longest-running controversies of the church.
To be sure, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Era have all added blocks of separation between miracles and our daily lives. For many, miracles have been looked upon as anti-science, anti-rational, and anti-intellectual.
On the other hand, people have and do believe in miracles. Writing in his book, “Conversations of the Heart,” Bishop Woodie White, past resident Bishop of the Candler School of Theology, says, “I do believe in miracles – the occurrence of acts not explained by rational and logical reasoning, cures and healings that have taken place in the face of contrary medical predictions and evidences ... But this is more testimony to the power of God that the claims of men and women.”
I asked a friend the other day about the welfare of her relative. She replied, “It’s a miracle he’s alive.” Then she talked further about the miracle.
While preparing for this article, I tried to read as much as I could about miracles. One of the best things I read was a short sermon by Barbara Brown Taylor, noted preacher, professor and author, titled, “The Problem with Miracles.” I’d like to mention that a few of the thoughts Dr. Brown shared that I found helpful. She said: