I can’t quite state when I began my spiritual search, but I do know that it began in earnest on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). I mark my search from that day, for that was when I began thinking about all the miraculous things God had done for my ancestors. I felt left out. I mean, here was a God who had split the Red Sea and had spoken to Moses and David and the Prophets. And me?? I had never seen a miracle. No one I ever knew had ever seen a miracle. I didn’t even know if God still did miracles. So I prayed that God would make me to be the kind of Jew who, like my ancestors, would see miracles.
When I came to Christ, for a while, the only miracle I saw was that my entire life was changing − my interests, my lifestyle, my desires. But because it was happening slowly, it didn’t seem too miraculous. Then, wow! There was a period in my life when all sorts of things happened one after another. I knew deep inside I had met the God of miracles. Then, suddenly, no more miracles. No signs, no wonders, no completely unexpected improbable events.
I barely had anything incredible at all to share with the people who asked me what was new. I got sort of embarrassed. You know, "prayer and praise time" rolls around and no one has been saved this week. I hadn’t prayed for any large amounts of money that came pouring in. My life hadn’t been visibly spared. Nothing.
I could have endured this for a week, but it was going into a month or more, and I was beginning to doubt that God was paying any attention to me. I searched for signs and wonders and listened for a still, small voice (or a big, booming one).
I read everything I could find about renewed experiences with God. All through church services I prayed that some gigantic movement would well up within me so I could make a breakthrough. All through Bible studies each week I opened myself up to have a surge of spirituality. Every day I looked around me in case I was missing the obvious blessings God had for me.
Then one Sunday, when someone asked me what I thought of the sermon, I realized I hadn’t even heard the sermon. I thought, "No wonder I’m not hearing anything from God in church; I’m not paying attention to what God is saying through the preacher." Sure enough, I stopped and looked around me and realized I wasn’t listening to what God was saying through anything!
The Bible had become a channel which either spoke to me in a striking way (like, "Boy, did that hit me right between the eyes; the verse just jumped off the page"), or it didn’t speak to me at all. Bible studies were only good if outstanding things were proclaimed. Other Christians were a bore if the Shechinah light didn’t emanate from their being (which severely limited my choice of companions). I didn’t want God; I wanted fancy trappings.
Actually, it’s not so incredible that God speaks to us in great and miraculous ways. Any God who can roll back the Red Sea, who can stop the sun, who can raise people from the dead, doesn’t have to show He has strength. And like Susan Perlman says, "God didn’t roll back the Red Sea weekly for those who missed the first showing." He was with the Israelites even in the day-to-day heat of the desert. To them, the miracle of manna was just an ordinary daily provision. (Remember that the next time you don’t want to say grace.)
The amazing thing is that God can use so many ordinary things − the words of a friend, the message of a pastor, a book by a stranger, a letter from a distant relative. Once I stopped looking for experiences, I began to see God.
Now, the nice thing is, since then I’ve seen some pretty miraculous incidents. I’ve seen some really incredible events. But when nothing phenomenal is happening, take a look around − you may just be taking some manna for granted!
− Amy Rabinovitz, Editor