In the world of sports and especially baseball, the word “miracle” is used quite often. It seems right to proclaim that the 1969 Mets or Kirk Gibson’s dramatic homerun or Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard ‘round the world” as miracles.
Perhaps these can be called miracles, if you use the definition that many Americans use. According to Gallup most Americans who believe in miracles define a miracle as “any event that defies explanation; something that requires us to suspend belief in order to deem it true.”
But I have come to believe that a miracle is more than just an event that causes us to suspend belief in order to deem true. I believe a miracle is more than simply something that is way out of the ordinary.
If we look in Hebrew Scriptures, we find that one Biblical Hebrew word for miracle is nes. Nes can be translated to mean either a “banner” or the pole used to raise the banner. Both translations carry the understanding that something is being raised or elevated. In battle, opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole (nes) at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point.
Until recently, I never thought of defining a miracle this way. But the more I think about it the more I like it. A miracle is God raising His banner high so that we can see Him working in our lives and the lives of those around us. After all, that’s what true miracles cause us to do. We aren’t called to suspend belief but rather we are called to look beyond the event itself and recognize that God is at work!
The parting of the Red Sea or the feeding of the multitudes or a man coming back from the dead, those are miracles! We read stories like these and we see God’s fingerprints everywhere. In these miracles and many others, God is raising His banner to remind us that He is active in the world and in our lives!
Blessed are Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who did for me a miracle in this place.
(Traditional Hebrew Blessing)