The Bible is filled with passages that declare the wonder and majesty of our God. He is extraordinary in every way. Isaiah described a scene so holy that it left him nearly speechless! (Isaiah 6) God’s ways can be supernatural, and the way He works and moves in our lives can be spectacular and miraculous.
But not ordinarily.
The truth is that God tends to operate behind the scenes to accomplish His will. He often shapes our lives and guides us by using the day-to-day events in our lives.
This is good news for all of us. It means we should not need frequent ‘miraculous moments’ to convince us that God is real and involved in our lives. Instead, we can see and sense God’s presence and direction in our lives’ ordinary, daily affairs.
God’s ways are less often fireworks that light up the sky and more frequently like a fire in a fireplace. Typically, the ways and works of God take place in our daily routines, choices, interactions, and decisions of our day-to-day life.
Surprising: Only a Very Few Miracles are Found in the Gospel
The New Testament Gospels demonstrate this. Jesus performed many miracles across approximately 33 years of His earthly life. Some people saw these fantastic displays of power and were deeply moved, and they believed. Some were so impressed by Jesus’ extraordinary ability that they repented. Some people were even afraid, and they also came to believe in Him.
However, the four Gospels record only 37 miracles! Each one of these miracles was wonderful, but they did not take up the majority of our Lord’s interest, energy, or passion. Consider this: Jesus performed only two miracles in all the time He was in the city of Jerusalem.
The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus did many other signs that were not recorded (John 20:30–31), but this proves the point. Some of the ways of God are extraordinary, but the Gospels are not jammed with one miracle after another. Instead, the Gospels tell us that Jesus walked, talked, encouraged, guided, corrected, challenged, loved, taught, explained, and trained his disciples. Most of the time, Jesus was simply with them as their Lord. He was with His friends, living out the ordinary ways of God.
We find this same reality in the Old Testament. There are undoubtedly significant miraculous moments like the Exodus, the revelation of the Ten Commandments, and Jonah’s survival in the belly of a fish. However, over the 1500 years of its writing and compilation, there are only 83 recorded miracles. The vast majority of Old Testament stories focus on the day-to-day faithfulness of God and our challenge to be faithful in response.
These are the ordinary ways of God.
Today, many of us wish that God would perform just one of the New Testament’s 37 miracles or one of the Old Testament’s 83 miracles. If only one miracle could be seen and verified, given the vast reach of the internet, the entire world would come to have faith in God. Or so we imagine.
Not A Miracle Worker
The Scriptures ask us to think about God differently than primarily a miracle worker. They invite us to imagine God’s presence and activity in our everyday, ordinary, day-to-day lives. To ask, seek, and find God in the most common areas of life is the hallmark of being a believer in God and a disciple of Jesus Christ.
The Book of Ruth perfectly demonstrates this reality. It is a beautiful story of regular people finding their way through life on a day-by-day basis. As they live out their days, they discover the presence of God guiding, correcting, and providing for them along the way.
God is everywhere in The Book of Ruth, but He never appears!
He is a constant redeeming force, but He never speaks. God is the director of this fantastic and critical story in the Bible, but He never forces anything to happen. He does not command, rebuke, or push. In ways both wonderful and ordinary, God simply allows people to make decisions while guiding them with a soft hand.
I invite you to download a free excerpt from my new book, “The Ordinary Ways of God” It is a deep dive into the incredible Book of Ruth. It is available on Amazon in May. Go here to get a free download of a few of the 25 chapters.
About the Author: David Roseberry has been a Bible teacher and pastor for nearly 40 years. For the majority of his ministry, he served as founding Rector of Christ Church, Plano, one of the largest Anglican churches in the United States.
He lives in Prosper, Texas with his wife Fran. They have four children, five grandchildren. The Ordinary Ways of God is his fifth book and is coming to Amazon in May.