There are times in our lives when we as Christians need to examine our walk with God and consider the many instances when He has directly intervened within our lives. Although we may not recognise it at the time, these occurrences fall within the realm of the miraculous. I would like to examine the significant of miracles within our Christian walk and share a few examples from the number of times I have personally benefited from God’s direct intervention.
For many professing Christians the subject of miracles are historically based and only even happened in the scripture, so not something which continues to occur today in the 21st century. Are they correct or are miracles continuing to occur within Christian’s lives everyday? I would propose the second option as I know that God has personally intervene in my live and therefore other peoples lives too, and not just on special occasions but on a regular basis as a caring parents would for any of their children.
Let me shared a few examples I have personally experienced over the course of my own life time to date. I recall my mother telling me that as a small child I was asleep in an armchair under a light which had a heavy glass globe surrounding it. My mother was ironing as I slept and was horrified to hear a loud crack and see the glass fixture drop directly above me. As she watch the heavy globe was invisibility deflected and shattered to the ground away from where I was asleep. My mother maintained that this was a spiritual intervention and over the years I have observed it was merely one of the many.
I was brought up to believe that God was our protector and help in times of trouble and as a young person growing up in the middle of the ‘troubles’ (the period of unrest within Northern Ireland over a generation) I regularly asked for that protection and help as I went about my normal life. I experienced evidences of divine protection from bombs, riots and illegal paramilitary road check points which occasional were erected without prior warning.
It has to be acknowledged that this was the same situation for everyone living within the ‘province’ at the time and in truth we did not consider the danger as a direct threat to us generally. That however was not always true as I will explained later.
I friend of mine from Omagh was living in a flat in Bangor and become very depressed and down, and following a very negative telephone conversation with him, his family asked if I could call up to see that he was okay as they were concerned about his state of mind. It was very late when I was contacted but agreed to drive up to see him that night. I was a few miles into the 82 mile journey when I realised that I would not have sufficient petrol to get there. My initial intention was to getting petrol from a local late night garage but it was closed when I reached it. I knew I would have just enough petrol to get home again but not to continue, I offered a simple prayer, ‘God I am obliged to go on but I know the petrol will not take me the distance. Please allow me to reach the all night garage in Belfast’. From experience with my car I knew I would have about 20 miles left, the all night station was a minimum of 60 miles and 40 miles of that would be motorway driving. On completing my prayer I started off again and keep in the forefront of my thoughts the picture of myself pulling into the all night garage just off Junction 2 of the motorway. The journey went without incident and I did get petrol at the filling station coming into Belfast and was able to meet up with my friend and was reassured that he was okay. God answers prayers in times of need.
From my mid teens I was plagued with a stomach problem which restricted my diet. I was unable to eat toast, fried food, Curries, etc and was also unable to drink fizzy drinks or alcohol apart from Bass Ale, I remember working in a hotel and the bar staff told us the if someone ordered a Bass or Smithwicks and if either were out then you could served the other as they are so alike to the taste. I assure you I could tell the different between them as Smithwicks always burned the stomach out of me while Bass had not effect at all.
Having lived with my stomach problem for many years, I seldom noticed it as a problem but when I was in my early thirties another problem occurred. I lost the ability to swallow. Luckily for me I also lost my appetite at the same time so I was not too concerned and was of the opinion that it would rightify itself in a few days. My wife, on the other hand was beside herself with worry as I had not been able to eat or drink anything for 4 days. I agreed to being anointed at church for the swallowing problem and I knew that God heals as I have witnessed His intervention for other members of my immediate family. This was the first time I was anointed with oil and prayed over by the local elder so I was unsure what was going to happen. Immediately after the minister laid his hands on me my appetite returned and I was able to eat again as normal.
It was not until later that I realised that the healing had been far more intense than I thought, the stomach problem which had plagued me for nearly 20 years was gone. I couldn’t believe to and keep trying different food which I knew from experience should upset the acid balance and cause me excruciating pain. The stomach problem never returned and I also started to put on weight for the first time in my life. I previously was always very thin.
My family and I were at different ends of Omagh on Saturday the 15 August 1998 when one of the most devastating explosions in Northern Ireland’s history of violence changed the lives of an entire urban community. My oldest daughter and her friend were walking down the street were the car bomb had been left when her friend received a premonition that every one was starting at them and that they should leave immediately. My daughter was reluctance to leave as she had not sensed the danger but the look of terror on her friend’s face persuaded her to go. They crossed the road and walked the short distance to the local library and were just about to sit down when the bomb exploded. The library, which was a bomb proofed building, shook and the polystyrene tiles of the ceiling collapsed around them. They witnessed a window explode outward, engulfing a mother wheeling her baby in a pram and many of the pedestrians being blown off their feet.
At the other end of the town my wife and I had just arrived to shop for some grocery when it was announced that everyone had to leave the shop as there was reports of a bomb warning near the court house. We realised that if we had have taken our normal route of going up through the town we would have been struck in the traffic and were considering our self fortunate not to have been delayed. As we walked out, into the car park the explosion rocked the town and panic gripped as everyone realised that the bomb was in the opposite end of the town than initially reported. The same area in which we would have been had we not divert from our normal route. In the next few minutes the area of the car park was filled with hundreds of people covered in blood and the enormity of the event hit home, for all of us.
My wife realising that our daughter and her friend were in the town immediately panicked fearing the worse, but I remained calm, somehow I knew that God’s had protected them from harm. It was over an hour before we all were able to meet up and shared account’s of God’s divine intervention of us and it was only later that we realised just how close death had come to each of us that day.
As I has grown in my faith I have come to realise that God’s protection is not thrown around us when trouble occurs but is prepared for us long before we ever realise that we need it. It was as I came to this understanding that I realised that I would trust God to operate in the miraculous for other things as well. Let me explained my understanding and hopefully you will be able to grow in trust with Him too. Before I was born God made preparation for me individually. He determined where I was to be born and into which family, he has already walked all the days of my life before me, so knows when I need his help and assistance. This is the same for every Christian so we should feel special and loved. God helped me realise that He is there for the small things as well as the large important things like bombs and health concerns. A few years ago had a job for a few months working in a factory. It was shift work and over a 3 week cycle alternated between morning, evening and night.
I had to travel in a company bus and was forced to leave my car in Omagh each day. The morning and the night shifts presented no problems but the afternoon shift mean that I was arriving into Omagh at the busiest time of the day. On my way I would ask for a parking space and when I arrived one would always be available for me. While I acknowledge that this could be good luck some of the time, I wish to point out that the parking space was not just some of the time it was all of the time without fail. God provided it for as long as I required it. God continues to provide for me and while I personally would love to become more financially secure I realise that His hand to mouth provision is to build up my total reliance on Him and remove the focus from me for meeting the needs of everyday life.
I hope the above comments prove helpful to most of the people directed by the Holy Spirit to read it. They are in no way a complete account of the divine intervention I have see and experienced but hopefully they will encourage some. We are entering a time of great trouble and it is important to realise that we need to have a strong dependence on our provision from God as this will become our only hope and stay in the forthcoming storms of life.
William Andrews is a regular Christian preacher/speaker within churches across Northern Ireland. He lives in one of the very few dry villages in Ireland called Seskinore, has been married to Caroline for 37 blissful years and has two daughters Charlene (36) and Rachel (22). The year 2008 proved to be an exciting year for the family as Charlene got married to Dominic in September 08 and they had their first child Phoebe Rose on 30th November 2009. A second grandchild, Ruby Caroline was born on 23rd April 2013.