“Finding Miracles in Everyday Life,” New Era, Mar. 2019, 8–10.
We all know what a miracle is, right? Moses parting the Red Sea. The Savior giving sight to a blind man. A woman being cured from a terminal illness. One of the most extraordinary miracles is the Atonement of Jesus Christ—no miracle has ever been so far-reaching or powerful. But are those the only types of experiences that could be considered miracles?
President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “Many miracles happen every day in the work of our Church and in the lives of our members.”1 But when was the last time you moved a mountain or saw a few fish and a few loaves of bread feed thousands? Most of us probably haven’t seen anything like that. So how can President Oaks’s statement be true?
According to the Bible Dictionary, miracles are “manifestations of divine or spiritual power.”2 With that definition, let’s open our eyes to the many miracles that surround us—miracles that we might not even recognize.
We definitely see God’s hand in the lives of His people through the miracles in the scriptures. But we can also see His spiritual power when we receive an answer to a prayer, strengthen our testimonies, or have a change of heart.
Still, there are other miracles that we tend to forget: The sun rises and sets each day; small seeds grow into mighty trees; the many components of our body work together, enabling us to breathe, run, dream, and eat. Inspired advances in medicine and technology are happening every day, and we can now communicate with almost anyone anywhere. God’s power can be seen in every detail of our lives.
Miracles come in many forms, but God performs them for the same overall purposes. Sometimes miracles heal, comfort, or physically protect God’s children, but these outward effects are not the only reason for miracles. Often, a miracle doesn’t prevent suffering or tragedy at all. God performs miracles for two basic reasons: to strengthen faith and to accomplish good.
Often, miracles manifest God’s power to His children or teach a spiritual principle. The Bible Dictionary says that Jesus Christ’s many miracles “were intended to be a proof to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ” and to teach principles such as accountability, repentance, faith, and love.3
Other times, miracles can confirm a previous revelation, such as the signs of Christ’s birth in the Americas. God can also use miracles to advance His work—family history work, missionary work, and more.
But if we seek miracles for the wrong reasons, we can run into trouble. The most common problem comes if we seek signs as proof of God’s existence. If we don’t add any faith to the equation, these signs won’t ever lead to real, lasting conversion. Just look what happened in the Book of Mormon: many people saw signs and miracles, but without faith, their obedience was short-lived.
It would also be wrong to seek miracles for popularity or money, for pursuing revenge, or for trying to change God’s will.
President Brigham Young (1801–77) taught, “Miracles … are not for the unbeliever; they are to console the Saints, and to strengthen and confirm the faith of those who love, fear, and serve God.”4 Understanding why God performs miracles can help us recognize them in our own lives.
Miracles happen only according to the will of God and our faith in Him. The prophet Moroni wrote, “And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore, they first believed in the Son of God” (Ether 12:18). Having faith allows us to see the good things that happen in our lives as the work of God rather than coincidences or good luck. Recognizing a miracle is part of the miracle itself! If we view life through a lens of faith in Jesus Christ, our eyes will be opened to the many miracles all around us.
However, the size, timing, and result of a miracle are not measures of our faith. Let’s say two families each receive news that one of their children has cancer. Both families pray for the loved one to recover quickly. Both families exercise faith in the healing power of Jesus Christ.
The child of the first family makes a full recovery, defying the doctor’s predictions that she has only months left to live. The child of the second family suffers through treatment after treatment and finally passes away, but the entire family is overwhelmed with peace and comfort rather than despair.
The first family was not necessarily more faithful than the second. Both families received miracles in their own way, and both miracles are part of a pattern of continual reassurance that God has a plan for each of His children.
The Lord performs both seemingly ordinary and extraordinary miracles in our day. Faithful followers of Jesus Christ in every dispensation have experienced dramatic healings and unexplainable successes. However, we should not overlook the everyday events that act as reminders of God’s hand in our lives. Sometimes we just have to recognize them!