Christians should ask God for grace instead of signs, wonders
There is a trend in the body of Christ that is not healthy for the spiritual growth of believers. Many these days are seeking miracles, signs, and wonders at the expense of their spiritual growth. Gospel preachers have concentrated so much on miracle crusades and meetings that even older saints have joined in to pursue signs and wonders. This trend has retarded the progression of many Christians and has permanently made them spiritual babies.
I have carefully looked at the Scriptures and observed that all the miracles that were performed by Christ and the Apostles were to demonstrate the power of God among unbelievers and new converts. Christianity is dynamic. At the early-stage miracles are released by God to prove and demonstrate His power to us. But as we continue to grow, there comes a time that all we need is sufficient grace to navigate through the difficulties, challenges, persecutions, and reproaches that are associated with Christianity.
When I first came to Christ, I observed that as soon as I finished praying, I usually received answers, especially in areas of personal healing and provision. As I continued, I also noticed that the rate at which God answered my prayers was diminishing especially on matters that concern my comfort and well-being. At times I felt as if God has abandoned me. At a stage, I concluded that God was not interested in my comfort but wanted me to suffer for following Him. I then embarked on scriptural research and discovered that all I needed was sufficient grace and not miraculous healing and provisions.
Paul was a great instrument in the hand of God. He performed so many notable miracles but was sick and never got miraculous healing. He cried to God for healing but God never healed him. Rather, He gave him sufficient grace: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians12:9). When Paul prayed for Trophimus for healing without result, he left him and continued his missionary journey. “Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20).
All these accounts do not in any way negate the healing ability of God but show that at some points quick answers to prayers become a scarce commodity and all we need to do is to ask God for His sufficient grace.
I know that God has solutions to all problems and challenges, but we should not be oblivious that it is His sole prerogative to answer prayers. “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16). Understanding that our demands to receive urgent divine interventions at times are not met immediately by God will help us to ask for His sufficient grace. In the case of Epaphroditus, he was sick unto death, but God had mercy upon him and healed him (Philippians 2:27).
Most often it is not about what we want but about what God wants, and it is not about the intensity at which we aggressively make demands from God that matters, but His willingness to give us answers.
Truth is, not all miracles are from God. We are now living in the last days and there are so many false prophets performing notable signs and wonders. Some miracles are stage-managed to deceive gullible Christians. Those who follow signs and wonders are susceptible to deception by fake miracle workers. A mature follower of Christ is supposed to stand strong and resist such manipulations, but unfortunately, even solid Christians are being deceived because people want a quick fix for their problems through miracles, signs, and wonders.
Christians should understand that there are many challenges that God places in our lives to help us grow, and no matter what we do to remove such challenges, the will of God must prevail: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29). Jesus went to the cross, and it pleased the Father to crush His only begotten son for the remission of our sins. It was the will of the Father for him to die the most shameful death for our sake. The only thing that God did was to give him sufficient grace and strengthened him through the Spirit, to accomplish his mission here on earth.
Some of the things that we are asking God to miraculously remove from our lives are steppingstones that will catapult us into our divine destiny. A thorn in the flesh was programmed by God to keep Paul from being arrogant and remain humble throughout his ministerial career. “Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud” (2 Corinthians12:7). If not for this thorn in his flesh, Paul would not have finished strong.
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God” (Hebrew 6:1). When a Christian moves from elementary teachings to start the growth process, all that is needed is no longer the faith to receive miracles but the sufficient grace to carry his cross in order to obtain his full spiritual maturity.
Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.