Friday, September 15, 2006

Miracles in Baskets

“There are no miracles, of that I am sure” Pearl S. Buck wrote in “A Bridge for Passing.” Shocked by her words, I read further to see what she based her statement upon. Near the end, I’ll share her explanation.

Baskets of miracles dot the pages of the Bible, literally. The first basket miracle rescued a baby. Born into an enslaved family, this baby would become the Hebrews’ savior. Centuries earlier, the Hebrews lived in freedom on Egyptian grazing lands, but when their population grew to staggering numbers, a domineering Pharaoh bound them into servitude.

Despite hundreds of years of harsh treatment and living conditions, the prolific Hebrews kept adding names to their family Bibles. Finally, the Pharaoh issued an edict that all the young boys were to be thrown into the Nile River. But at least one Hebrew mother kept the secret that she’d birthed a third child, a son, and, prudent, she kept him hidden.

In private, she wove a tiny bassinet of reeds and coated it with pitch. She placed her infant son inside, most likely christening the tiny boat with prayer. Then she launched the water-worthy vessel into the Nile, and guided by Divine current the baby drifted right into the path of an Egyptian princess and her entourage.

Discovered by royalty, the baby was named “Moses” because he was drawn “from the water.” Spared by God, Moses grew and was tutored to read and write. Later he would record the early history of mankind, from the beginning of the world through God’s lawgiving. One miracle in a basket.

Much later when Jesus multiplied a few fish and loaves, there was a hearty catch of leftovers. Matthew 15:29-39 relates that the disciples gathered up seven basketsful of God-grown fish and God-baked bread. More baskets of miracles.

Even later, the apostle Paul encountered hostile religious leaders, who didn’t want to hear about the Christ. Their minds closed to any discussion of religious thought other than their tradition, they thought only to kill Paul. However, ingenious friends helped Paul escape at night by lowering him outside of the Damascus city walls. Another evil plan foiled, another miracle escape aided by a basket.

The rescues of baby Moses and the adult Paul happened because God worked and kept them alive. Because of their leadership and teaching, others would also escape captivity. At God’s command, Moses led the Hebrews from Egypt. God-commissioned, Paul preached to non-Jews, leading many to believe in the Christ.

By definition, a miracle is “an event that appears to be contrary to the laws of nature and is regarded as an act of God,” according to the Encarta World English Dictionary. When Pearl S. Buck wrote “There are no miracles, of that I am sure,” she followed with this explanation.

“If one walks on water and heals the sick and raises the dead to life again, it is not a matter of magic, but of knowing how to do it.” What we observe as extraordinary, the by-passing of the natural laws of the earth are no feat for God. Miracles are simply God’s natural work.

A baby rescued in a basket, a cancer patient healed, thousands fed from a pittance of food, a prodigal returns home, an apostle survives to tell the good news—all engineered from God’s blueprint—because He is able.

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