Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beach Ball Miracles


I’ve been teaching a Philosophy 101 class to my youngest son, David the last few months. Our main textbook has been one that came highly recommended by my friend Thomas Crisp who happens to be a philosophy professor at Biola University.

Last night we came to the chapter about the existence of God. In it, the author, Dr. Tom Morris, shares a little personal story about what happened to him one day on the beach at Lake Michigan with his family.

His little boy, Matt, who was only four years old, was playing with this beach ball. The wind was blowing pretty hard. He warned his son to hang on to it, and about that time the wind blew and whipped it out of his son’s hands and all the way across the lake. They stood and watched it disappear over the horizon together. 

Then his little boy looked up at him with tears in his eyes and said, “Daddy, if we pray then God will bring it back.”

To which he replied, “Well, that’s a thought.” But in his heart he simply said, “Poor kid. He doesn’t understand how the world works.”

He went and laid back down on his beach towel. But his son’s simple statement of faith kept bugging him. Why was it so easy for his son to believe in a miracle? Why was he so cynical?

Eventually, under his breath he said, “Ok, God. Bring his beach ball back.”

Then he laid back down and took a nap. 

About 45 minutes later he heard a boat motor. He stood up. The boat was all alone on the horizon. He suddenly felt an urge to raise his hands over his head in a circle and then point out to sea, where the ball had disappeared. He did that. Twice. The boat bobbed up and down for a while, and then it turned around and sped off.

“Whatever,” he thought, and laid back down on the towel.

On hour later, the sound of the boat returned. He stood up again. The boat was getting closer. He waded out into the cold waters of Lake Michigan. The boat inched closer. Eventually he got close enough to talk to the driver who bent down and stood up with a beach ball and said, “Is this yours?”

“Yes,” he said. Dumbfounded. “Yes, it is.”

After talking with the two guys on the boat for a while he found out that they had started out their day with no intention of going out on the lake, but then they suddenly got the urge. That was exactly the time he had prayed for God to return his son’s ball.

They had driven up to the beach and used their binoculars to see if there were any cute girls on the beach. All they saw was this guy [him] standing up and holding his hands in a circle over his head and pointing. They didn’t know what to make of it but decided to head home. A few miles out they saw the beach ball, pulled it into the boat, and then decided to go back one more time to look for cute girls on the beach.

When they pulled up the second time, there were a few cute girls, right near where Tom and his son were sitting on the beach. As the boat got closer, Tom stood up and started walking over to them. That’s when they thought to themselves, “Hey, maybe he lost his beach ball?”

Armed with the story, Dr. Tom Morris went back to his University and shared these events with his colleagues. 

One of them shook his head in disgust and said, “People are dying of cancer, and being murdered, all over the world. And your son gets his beach ball back?”

Tom looked at the man, and then around the room at the skeptical faces of his fellow philosophy professors and said, “Yes.”

Isn't that the way faith works?

We can't understand it. We can't predict it. But sometimes, out of the clear blue, God amazes us with His compassion, and His power, just to show us what is possible if we will trust Him.

Sometimes, even when our faith is nearly nonexistent, He works a miracle anyway. Other times, His answer is "No", or "Not yet".

The bottom line, I think, is all about trust. 

Either we trust God, or we don't. 

What do you think? 


*Taken from the book, "Philosophy For Dummies" by Dr. Tom Morris, p. 233-236


NoahM said...

He is the God of small miracles as well as large. I often find car parks where there seems to be none by praying for Jesus to show me one, and He does!

T Aagard said...

I think God has the authority, intelligence and perfection to decide when to do a miracle at the faith request or not. It appears he is more interested in teaching us to know and love him than to make all our problems go away. That is how I view the death of my wife to Acute Myeloid Leukemia on December 5, 2015. He chose not to heal her but rather to take her 4 months after the diagnosis. I am learning many things about God. As I grieve daily with tears, I understand on a soul level how God grieves daily for our daily rebellions against what he has made us to do. As I understand that God have me this amazing wife 33 years ago, he has more gifts to give as I pass the test of his removing this gift.