December 16, 2018

Stepping out in Faith: 3 Examples



“And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.”--Matthew 14:19-20 (KJV)

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Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. They can’t usually be immediately predicted, or explained. After all, there’s a well-known saying: “Today’s miracle is tomorrow’s science.” We now use some of the technology created for science fiction literature and entertainment. The cell phones, submarines, and computers of today were predicted decades ago—or more.

This is why any miracle builds hope. A miraculous encounter signifies that someone stepped out in faith, and their devotion was rewarded. Christmas is a good time to explore faith-building wonders, past and present. Let’s look at three examples:

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes (Matthew 14:19-20)

This scripture passage is cited above. Jesus had just finished preaching to about five thousand followers. It was growing late. He’d been preaching for hours, most likely. His disciples suggested he send the listeners back to their homes; they needed to eat.

Jesus suggested the disciples feed the crowd where they were. John 6:9 specifies that a boy had five barley loaves and two fishes. Jesus blessed and broke these up. They were distributed among the thousands of of people. Twelve baskets were left over.

The next two events are more modern. Most of the information is taken from the Travel channel series: Mysteries at the Museum.

The Spanish-American War (1898)

Henry Howard Whitney was on special commission to the war department. He concentrated on Spanish-occupied Cuba and Puerto Rico. His assignment was to search (reconnoiter) these islands and make maps of them. His detailed charts helped the U.S. military win freedom for the islands.

How dangerous was it? Very. The Spanish had learned a spy was on board Whitney’s ship. He had only moments to come up with a plan. He quickly put on grubby clothes and blackened his face and arms with soot. Henry then went to the boiler room.

When the Spanish soldiers entered, all they saw was another sailor shoveling coal. In that way, the creative man avoided death--or something worse.

World War II (The Great Raid at Cabanatuan, the Philippines—January 30, 1945)

Five hundred Allied soldiers and civilians were held in this Japanese prisoner-of-war camp at the time. Many of them were going blind and deaf from disease, torture, and malnourishment.

How dangerous was it? Very. The camp was:
  • 30 miles behind Japanese lines
  • Heavily guarded
  • Bordered by acres of flat rice paddies (fields)

The soldiers and Filipino guerrillas had to determine a way to distract the guards while they entered the facility. They chose to storm the prison under cover of darkness. The allies also asked to have a P-61 Black Widow--the biggest, baddest aircraft in the fleet--to fly over the camp as they crossed the fields.

Ummm. It worked. The guards looked up at the aircraft. Their attention was diverted. The rescuers gained access to the camp and freed the prisoners.

My Conclusion

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from Brainyquotes.com
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“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”-- Rabindranath Tagore, from Brainyquotes.com

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When did you last step out in faith?