“Sunday Afternoon Sermon”
God is a God of Miracles
Believers live in a world teeming with wonderous miracles. Because of their faith they witness the innumerable miracles of nature and creation that surround them. Because of their faith they receive countless miracles of healing, protection, preservation, and providence. After all, “God is a God of miracles.”
By contrast, atheists live in a dreary world devoid of miracles.
These divine miracles and heavenly blessings “prove” God’s existence.
There are great variety of miracles. I join with millions of Latter-day Saints who have personally witnessed and/or personally experienced these miracles.
- Miracles of Controlling Nature
- Miracles of Healing
- Miracles of Protection
- Miracles of Providence
- Miracles of the LDS Church and Restoration of the Gospel
- Miracles of Temple Work
- Miracles of Missionary Work
Miracles of Controlling Nature (A Few Experiences)
The Bible, Book of Mormon, and LDS history are filled with examples of the miracles of controlling nature.
For example, God parted the Red Sea. Jesus calmed the storm. A sudden thunderstorm protected Joseph Smith and Zion’s Camp followers from the attacking militia.
I have personally witnessed this miracle several times, especially when the Latter-day Saints prayed for rain. I have also personally experienced this miracle twice.
First, while on my mission in England, a heavy summer rainstorm started as we began tracting. My district leader, through his faith and priesthood, asked/commanded for the storm to stop for three hours until we had finished. It did. (Moreover, during that time we were continually blessed with the spirit of prophecy and revelation, like never before or since.)
Second, while I working as a church gardener, the parking lot street sweeper broke down before an important stake conference. The parking lot was covered with dirt and debris. I prayed for help. A dust devil suddenly appeared and swept the parking lot clean. (See blogpost: “I Experienced an Amazing Miracle of Nature.”)
Miracles of Healing (A Few Experiences)
Millions of people of faith can testify they have witnessed or received the miracle of divine healing. The Bible, Book of Mormon, and LDS history contain countless accounts of miraculously healing.
I have personally witnessed the miracle of healing, and I have been personally experienced the miracle of healing, several times.
Every faithful Latter-day Saint I know, has witnessed or experienced the miracle of healing. For example, I asked my large adult Sunday School class: “How many of you have personally witnessed the miracle of healing or been miraculously healed?” Every hand was raised.
Significantly, there are five published accounts from LDS history of one of the greatest miracles – being raised from the dead. Each of these five people had been dead for hours, and their bodies were being prepared for burial. While dead, the spirits of some of these people met deceased ancestors for the first time, and they were able to give detailed descriptions of their appearance. (See blogposts: “Raised from the Dead: Lorenzo Snow and Ella Jensen,” “Raised from the Dead: Ephraim Hanks and the Martin Handcart Company Rescue,” “Raised from the Dead: Ephraim Hanks and Nancy Johnson,” “Raised from the Dead: Wilford and Phoebe Woodruff,” “Raised from the Dead: Matthew Cowley and the New Zealanders.”)
Miracles of Protection (A Few Experiences)
Millions of believers can testify they have witnessed or received the miracle of divine protection. The Bible, Book of Mormon, and LDS history contain innumerable accounts of believers being miraculously protected and preserved, like Daniel in the lions’ den, and Shadrach in the fiery furnace.
I have personally experienced the miracle of divine protection dozens of times. Here are just four examples:
One, although I have commuted daily on Southern California freeways for over 40 years, driven for Yellow Cab, and transported cars for Hertz, I have never been involved in an accident.
Two, I have had two potentially fatal heart attacks. Both times, I was already in the emergency room being treated for something else (esophagitis and a kidney stone) Had I not been in the ER at the time, I would not have survived. What are the odds!
Three, one night in the mission in England, I was suddenly startled awake by the sound of a large choir. I was a heavy sleeper and never awakened in the middle of the night on my mission. Instantly, the “still small voice” told me to “get up and open the door.” The room was filled with gas from a defective heater. (See blog )
Four, while riding my bicycle during my mission, I was wedged between a flatbed truck and a parked car. The bed of the truck was scraping my left shoulder, and my right hand was rubbing the parked car. I should have tipped over. Suddenly, I felt like someone had grabbed the handlebars and held me steady until the truck passed. My companion turned away, certain I had been crushed.
Miracles of Providence (A Few Experiences)
“The Lord provides.” For believers, the miracle of providence is very common. The scriptures and LDS history are teeming with examples.
I have personally experienced this miracle countless times. Here are just three small examples:
One, on my mission, when I desperately needed a pair of shoes, I found a brand-new pair, in my exact size and style, left in a missionary apartment chest of drawers. When I needed a winter coat, I found new one one, my exact size, left in a missionary apartment closet. This “miracle” occurred so many times, that my mission president teased me about it by asking if I could find a few things for him.
Two, as law school graduation approached, my wife had set aside money to rent a moving truck, but the money went missing. We looked everywhere, to no avail. We were desperate. The day before our move home, a letter arrived from the O.C. District Attorney’s Office. An audit revealed I had underpaid as a law clerk the previous summer. Enclosed was a check. “Coincidentally,” it was within a few cents of the exact amount of the missing money.
Three, one Sunday, my wife and I drove our old Chevy van to pick up a used couch that a church member was donating to our “needy” family. After loading the couch, the van wouldn’t start. The starter motor was shot. “Coincidentally,” the member’s job was rebuilding Chevy starter motors. “Coincidentally,” he had brought his work tools home for the weekend. A half hour later, the started motor was rebuilt, and we drove home with our “new” couch.
Summary –Personal Observations
I cannot boast about, or take any credit for, the countless miracles I have witnessed and experienced. They are a gift of divine grace.
Importantly, these miracles are not unique to me. I am nothing “special.” Every faithful Latter-day Saint I know, and most people of faith if know, have witnessed and experienced similar divine miracles.
My testimony that God lives is based, in part, on these personal miracles, which I cannot deny. A few of these miracles might be rationalized as “mere coincidence.” But the overwhelming breath and depth of these miracles is irrefutable. God lives!
God is a God of miracles, and the plethora of divine miracles further “prove” his existence. I pity atheists whose lives are devoid of such divine miracles and blessings.
Miracles of the LDS Church and Restoration of the Gospel
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a church of countless extraordinary miracles. The church is indeed “a marvelous work and a wonder.” Here are just eight examples.
The Church’s Founding in Undeveloped America
One, defying logic, the Lord restored the church in 1830 in an undeveloped country, instead of the great capitals Europe. Yet, America has become a world leader militarily, economically, politically, and culturally, and the church miraculously rides the coattails of America’s influence.
Restoration Through a Young Uneducated Farm Boy
Two, contrary to reason, the Lord restored the gospel using a young uneducated farm boy, instead of a trained theologian. Starting with 6 original members in 1830, the church miraculously numbers over 16 million.
Surviving in the Barren Salt Lake Valley
Three, when the saints first settled in the Salt Lake Valley, it was a barren wasteland. Now it is the “cross-roads of the West.” It is a hub of the transcontinental railroad, an intersection of interstate highways, and home of an international airport.
Bypassing the Civil War
Four, residing in the Great Basin during the Civil War, the church was spared the death and destruction that plagued the rest of the country.
Crickets and the Seagulls
Five, anticipating the first harvest in 1848, “Mormon crickets” swarmed over the spouting grain. In response to prayers, vast flocks of seagulls miraculously appeared and devoured the pests. The pioneers erected the “Seagull Monument” in honor of this miracle.
Gold Rush Merchandise
Six, in the beginning, the Utah saints were destitute and discouraged. After a couple of years, in fulfillment of prophesy, hordes of people passed through on their way to the gold fields of California, miraculously leaving products, cash, and goods behind.
The Lay Unpaid Ministry
Seven, almost every major religion is led by highly trained and paid professional clergy. Local LDS leaders have no formal training, and they are not paid.
Eight, no international business or governmental organization uses teenagers as their world representatives, except the LDS Church. It works miraculously well.
Miracles of Temple Work (A Few Examples)
A myriad of miracles surround family history and temple work. Three examples:
One, during the construction of the Hawaii Temple in the early 1900’s, they couldn’t get lumber delivered to the island. Two days after praying for help, a freighter got grounded nearby during the storm. The captain offered to give away his cargo of lumber to the saints if they unloaded his ship so it could be refloated.
Two, on May 17, 1884, at the dedication of the Logan Temple, two strangers gave Bishop Henry Ballard’s daughter a newspaper to give to him. It contained the dates of birth and death for 60 ancestral relatives. The paper was printed on May 15, only three days earlier, in the small town of Newbury, England. At that time, it would have taken at least 2-3 weeks to arrive in Logan.
Three, in 1989, during a military coup in the Philippines, the rebels hunkered down on the grounds of the Manila Temple. The government forces surrounded the temple and scheduled to bombard the rebels with artillery. Church leaders in Salt Lake prayed for protection. Before the deadline, the rebels were somehow able “melt into the night,” and the temple was spared.
Miracles of Missionary Work (A Few Examples)
An almost infinite number of miracles surround missionary work.
I have personally witnessed and experienced dozen of divine miracles while serving my mission in England and Wales.
Miracles surrounded the missionary work of Wilford Woodruff, who “converted” thousands in England, Dan Jones who “converted” thousands in Wales, and Joseph “Willie” Johnson who “converted” thousands in Ghana. Here are three examples or missionary miracles:
One, in 1892, Elder George Albert Smith and his companion, serving in the southern states, were feeling their way along the wall of a mountain at night during a sudden storm. The still small voice told George to “Stop!” They stopped, but Elder Smith dropped his briefcase. They returned the next day and discovered that their footprints and the briefcase were on the very edge of a tall cliff.
Two, in the 1840’s, Wilford Woodruff was preaching to a congregation in northern England. The Spirit suddenly whispered, “Go South.” He did. In southwestern England he came across a 600-member congregation that was not satisfied with the Church of England. He baptized the entire congregation.
Three, one day, on his mission in the southern states in 1892, Elder George Albert Smith and his companion rested outside the home of a non-member. The Spirit inspired them to sing “Do What Is Right.” Unbeknownst to missionaries, an armed mob on horseback gathered on the hill overlooking the house, preparing the ambush them. The mob leader said, “We made a mistake. These are not the kind of men we thought they were. Wicked men can’t sing like angels, and these men sing like angels. They must be servants of the Lord.” The mob disbanded. The leader was later baptized.
I personally witnessed and experienced dozes of miracles during my mission.
Divine Blessings, Tender Mercies, and Heavenly Treats (An Example)
Like faithful Latter-day Saints and other people of faith, I have received countless divine blessings.
The Holy Spirit has guided me in every major decision, and some minor decisions, in my life. I have been inspired in all my schoolwork and academic studies. Any success I may have had, and anything I may have accomplished, I owe to the divine blessings and tender mercies of the Lord.
One Sunday, I decided to itemize and “Count Your Blessings.” I stopped counting at 288.
We often give our children “treats.” Some treats are a reward for good behavior. Some treats are an incentive to do better. Other treats are simply a token of our love.
Our Heavenly Father also gives us “treats” for the same reasons. These are also called “blessings” or “tender mercies.”
My family and I have been blessed with hundreds of “divine treats.” Here is just one of my personal favorites.
I decided to teach a Sunday School lesson on “The Miracles of Missionary Work.” In part, I focused on Joseph “Willy” Johnson of Ghana, a spiritual giant who converted thousands.
As I was sharing his story, a black brother entered the room and sat down. I recognized him immediately. It was Alex Boye, a world-renowned LDS singer and performer.
When I concluded my discussion, Brother Boye added that he had performed at Willy Johnson’s funeral celebration in Ghana. He confirmed my stories, shared additional accounts, concluding with his testimony of miracles in missionary work in Africa.
What are the odds that this a world famous performer from Salt Lake City, who sang at the funeral of Willy Johnson in Ghana, would visit my humble Sunday School class in Lake Forest, California, at the exact moment we were discussing Willy Johnson! I had never devoted a lesson to the miracles of missionary work before. I had never discussed Willy Johnson in church before. And I never thought I would ever meet the famous Alex Boye.
Those who have faith in the Lord and strive to serve him witness and receive countless miracles, divine blessings, tender mercies, and heavenly treats.
Millions of Latter-day Saints, billions of other people of faith, and I, are personal witnesses to numberless divine miracles and heavenly blessings. God is the source. He lives!