The Case For Miracles: Q&A With Lee And Tim

Examining The Question, Why Does God Heal Some And Not Others?

Tim Lundy and Lee Strobel
Jul 4, 2020    46m
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Following two weeks of inspirational messages where he made a case for Jesus and a case for miracles, Author Lee Strobel answers questions from viewers about why does God heal some and not others. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:00 Well Venture, we're back again with Lee Strobel. If you've been with us the last two weeks, I know I've been impacted and it's been great to hear the response from the two messages, The Case For Christ, and then last weekend, The Case For Miracles. And we asked you for questions, we've got a number of them. Lee, I want to welcome you back. We do appreciate just your ministry at Venture, all the way from Houston. And I don't want to take too much time, because we do have a number of questions, I want to just dive in.

Tim Lundy: 00:42 Now, some of those are my questions, some that came in. Maybe one just to get us started a little bit, and this was my own curiosity. You know, you did so much research for The Case For Miracles, you heard different stories. Was there any part of that study, and in your research that you found particularly fascinating, or maybe surprising that you didn't expect to find?

Lee Strobel: 01:03 Yeah, I think, a couple things, one is the frequency of reported miracles. You know, Craig Keener, who's a PhD at Asbury Seminary, has written a two volume work, that's I think is like 800,000 words of miracle accounts from around the world. And you know, I mentioned, I think in my talk, I did a survey that found that 38% of American adults say they've had at least one thing in their life that they believe was a miracle, so the frequency of it surprised me. Also, I was really surprised by how well documented many miracles are. That, you know, science can't literally prove a miracle, because it deals with supernatural, and science deals with the natural world, but science can point us toward a reasonable conclusion. And, the study I mentioned from Mozambique, as well as these two recent case studies, and other cases, where the evidence of science points persuasively in the direction that God has supernaturally intervene. I was surprised at how many of those cases there really are.

Tim Lundy: 02:15 That's awesome. Yeah, I was surprised when you went through the numbers, because you don't hear about them as much, and so to hear that many verified miracles was really surprising to me.

Lee Strobel: 02:28 Well, a lot of people are a little bit embarrassed by them, and they won't come out and make it the first thing in a conversation. But if you ask them, have you ever had an event in your life that you can only explain as a miracle of God, three out of five American adults are gonna say, yeah. And some of them, I think, don't know what to do with it, and they feel a little awkward and uncomfortable, and they think you're gonna think ill of them if you're claiming something miraculous took place. So, sometimes you have to probe a little to get people to really talk about it.

Tim Lundy: 03:02 Well, I'm going to jump to a hard question, and you kind of referenced it, we've talked a little bit about it, but just to give some context to it. You know, I've walked our church through the journey that we've been through as a family. My wife's brother and his wife, they had three little girls, and the youngest two had a devastating disease, Batten disease, neurological, it slowly shut down their bodies, both of them starting at age two and three. And we kind of walked through, a three-year journey with one, and then began a three-year journey with the other one. So as a family, it was a six year journey of watching two little girls die to this disease. And during that time period, I mean, we prayed, they prayed. And particularly my youngest son, Jude, who's now just turned 13, he prayed every day, he was determined that God was gonna heal them. And when that didn't happen, you know, we wrestled with it, and he asked me, and this question, I'm going to ask you. I mean, surely out of any miracle you could do, if God is able, why didn't he heal these girls? And why didn't he do some of the miracles that, you know, so many people pray for daily?

Lee Strobel: 04:13 Yeah. Yeah. Well, I'm so sorry to hear that story of what happened, I know that that's gotta be a heartbreak, and so many people have these stories of praying for miracles that never took place. In my own life, my wife Leslie, has a medical condition that has her in pain every single day, for 20 years. And she'll be in pain every day for the rest of her life, unless God heals her, because there's no cure for this condition. And we've prayed for healing, and it hasn't taken place, so I knew I couldn't do a research project on miracles without addressing this question.

Lee Strobel: 04:54 And so I went to a guy who really has unique credentials to discuss this. First of all, he has a PhD in philosophy from a secular university, he's a Christian, a professor at Denver Seminary, he's written a 714 page book on the evidence for faith, so he knows the philosophical and theological issues. But also his wife, at the time I interviewed him, was dying of a rare brain condition, and she was slowly losing her capacity to reason and to identify things. In fact, at the time I interviewed him, she was unable to know what a hairbrush was, or how to use a telephone. and indeed she did die not long after the interview that I did, and they had prayed for a miracle. And so I interviewed him, and I'm telling you, it was one of the most profound interviews I've ever conducted. Because he could speak from someone who himself wrestled with this, but also who has the academic, and theological training to be really able to deal with it. And so I encourage anybody that faces this to read that chapter with the interview with Douglas Groothuis is how his name is pronounced, because I just found it to be a powerful.

Lee Strobel: 06:17 But I'll summarize it, because this is such an important question, I know probably several people probably asked something similar. So let me spend a few minutes kind of unpacking it, first of all, God is sovereign. I can't take any given example, like the one you mentioned with the two children, and my wife, and give you a reason why God is not healing them immediately and in the way that we want. God is sovereign, he will do as he will do, his ways are above our ways, he sees things we can't see, he knows things that we can't know. And so we have to trust him that, you know, when he says that he will heal, he will heal all followers of his, it may be immediately as the cases I talked about, or it could be as they leave this world into the world to come where there'll be a place of no tears, no pain, and no suffering. So there ultimately will be healing, often it's not when we want it, but God will fulfill that promise.

Lee Strobel: 07:25 Keep in mind that Romans 8:28, which we like to throw around as a cliche, "That God causes all things to work together for good, for those that love him and are called according to his purpose." That's from the word of God. And so often when you talk to someone who's going through a period of suffering where God did not intervene the way they wanted it to, they can look back and they can see how God has even caused good to emerge from that. I think in my wife's case, you know, he has made her much more empathetic with others who suffer, and I think it has drawn her closer to God, it's drawn her closer to other people who are going through painful situations, so she can see how good has resulted. And also keep in mind that healings were not automatic in the New Testament either. Matthew says that Jesus didn't do many miracles in Nazareth, in Matthew chapter 10, the disciples are given the authority to heal. And then seven chapters later, they fail to heal an epileptic boy. Paul didn't heal everybody, he had a buddy named Trophimus who was sick, and Paul didn't heal him. He went off, Paul went off, on a missionary journey and left him behind sick. And then the Bible says that Paul himself had a thorn in the flesh, we don't know what that was exactly, but there's no evidence that God healed it in this life.

Lee Strobel: 08:50 The other thing I think to keep in mind is, how honest Jesus is about this issue. Other religions, especially Eastern religions, call suffering maya, which means it's an illusion. It's not real, it's an illusion. I want to say bologna. And I want to say, that's the same thing Jesus said. I mean, that's a real loose translation, but Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But he said, have courage, I have overcome the world." What is he saying there, he's saying, you know, you live currently in a world that is corrupted and corroded by sin. And our sin has opened the door to moral evil in our world, where we hurt each other. To natural evil, where we're susceptible to things like viruses and so forth. That's the world in which we live, because our sin has kind of opened that door. But he says in that same verse, I can bring you the two very things that you need the most when you suffer, I can bring you peace for the present and courage for the future. And those are the things we seek, you know, most when we're hurting. So, you know, why doesn't God respond in the way we want him to, to every time we pray for a healing? I can't answer that question except to say what I've just said, that someday we'll have our hand up in heaven and we can get more details, but I think those are reasonable responses nonetheless.

Tim Lundy: 10:28 Yeah, I appreciate that. And, yeah, it is something you have to walk through, you know, as a family, we continue to walk through it because there's not quick answers around that.

Lee Strobel: 10:39 Absolutely. That's why the body of Christ comes together, where we weep with those who weep, we celebrate with those who celebrate, that we're not in this alone. The Bible says that God is both transcendent, that means above creation, but he's also imminent, which means he's close to us, he's with us. And through those periods of suffering, he promises to be with us, and accompany us through it. And one of the ways he does that is through the body of Christ, through other believers who gather around us, and cheer us on and, and weep with us when we weep.

Tim Lundy: 11:21 Yeah, I've got a couple of questions kind of close to that. Lori writes in, she says in December of 2018, a sudden onset of unexplained nerve pain in both of my arms left me partially disabled, resulting in needing help from others, lost dreams, joy for living. As I've struggled with chronic pain and depression, I asked those close to me to pray for me, even had church elders anoint my head with oil and pray over me. I have learned to trust in him more than I trusted my own medical knowledge or in the healthcare system, I've grown closer the Lord, and I've asked for his healing daily. I believe in miraculous healing, improvement, but no miracle. So my question is, what am I missing here? And I think her question kind of reflects a lot of people.

Lee Strobel: 12:07 Yeah, am I doing something wrong? Yeah, what am I doing wrong? And I want to say, you know, there's a strain of Christianity that would say, oh, it's your lack of faith. If you just had more faith, God would heal you right now. And that's not theologically supported, and it puts a lot of undue pressure and guilt on people that don't deserve it. it's interesting, I think I may have mentioned this in my talk, but when I interview people who have themselves had supernatural healings, and asked why you? To a person they say, I don't know, I don't know. You know, it's not like they can give you a formula, oh, I did this, this, this, and this, you're forgetting this, you know. No, they say to a person, I don't know why God chose to heal me and not somebody else. Again, he's sovereign, he knows us and our situations better than we do, and he sees and understands things that we will never in this world understand. So, you know, these are tough questions, but I would not get on that bandwagon of saying, oh, well, golly, if you just did this, this, and this, if you had more faith, if you would give more, if you... You know, no, that's a twisting of scripture, that's a health and wealth gospel, that is not supported by the Bible.

Tim Lundy: 13:37 Yeah. I get so frustrated when I see that, because I do think it puts so much guilt on people who are already suffering. And I even think the James 5 passage a lot of times is twisted, because it talks about the prayer of faith. If you look in the passage, it's the elders who are supposed to have the prayer of faith. It's after you've come to the elders and it says, they pray over you, and then James says, the prayer of faith brings healing. And I've found that to be the case, a lot of times when people are coming and they need prayer, their faith is wavering. They've been in it for so long, when you suffer that long, and especially if you're going through pain, it's easy to feel like your faith is faltering. That's specifically why James commands us as elders, as leaders of the church, were to have faith when people don't feel like they have their own. And instead of them feeling like they got to drum it up, I think as a church, again, you spoke to it. We weep with those who weep and celebrate with those who celebrate, we pray for those, and we have faith for them, in a time when they're struggling with it the most.

Lee Strobel: 14:37 Yeah. That's a great point, and people often gloss over that and they don't catch that nuance, which as you say is so important. And, you know, when we come to the church, and we come to the elders, and they anoint us with oil, and they pray for us and with us, we're being obedient to the Word of God. This is what James tells us to do, and that's walking in faith. Faith is not just believing something, is beliefs plus behavior. And even when we don't feel like doing it, or we feel weak, and we feel unempowered, and so forth, when we're nevertheless obedient and we go down the road that God prescribes in scripture, that obedience is important, that that faith is important ,and it will increase our own faith over time.

Tim Lundy: 15:25 Yeah. We got another question that came in late, I didn't have time to send to you. It's from friend of mine, Marv, who serves as an elder. And they have an adult son with diminished capacities, and prayed over him for years. And I'll send you his directly, but he had one line in it that I really loved. You know, he said, God has used us to grow him. But when he hears a message, like he heard the one on miracles, you can't help, but feel a sense of sadness. That you're happy for the ones who have experienced the miracle, but there is a sense of sadness. And, you know, I've been preaching more as a church on lament, I don't think we grieve well, and we create space for that at times. And I think that's a key part of this, of recognizing what God's doing, but lamenting the loss and grieving what has been lost.

Lee Strobel: 16:14 You know, that's why it says we should grieve with those who grieve and celebrate with those who are celebrating. And, you know, when my wife and I hear stories about like Barbara Snyder, who I talked about, her incredible healing from multiple sclerosis, probably the best documented healing I've ever seen. You know, we hear that case and we celebrate with her, and we thank God for her, and we thank God that he not only healed her, but she went on to marry a pastor. And now, they've got a little church in Virginia, serving other people. And we want to celebrate with her, but at the same time, it's hard not to feel, yeah, but what about us? What about Leslie? Why is she still in pain every day? And, you know, the best we can do is to say God, I'm still going to be faithful, I'm still going to trust that you will heal my wife, if no other time than as she leaves this world and spends eternity of millions upon millions upon millions of years, in perfect bliss in heaven. You know, Saint Teresa of Avila, one of the old saints of the church, once said that in light of heaven, in the light of this eternity, trillions of years of being in the blissful presence of God himself, she said even a life on earth that was beginning to end filled with pain, she said in the light of heaven, that time on earth will seem in the end to be nothing more than one night in an inconvenient hotel. So we can't diminish the fact that in light of heaven, in light of what we'll experience for eternity, you know, when somebody says to you a hundred trillion years from now, oh, I guess you had a tough time when you were in the world, didn't you? And you say, oh, golly, yeah, I guess I did. Yeah, it wasn't good, I suffered, I had pain, but in light of this, in light of being in the presence of God Almighty for eternity, in the light of the showering of blessings on me here, that just kind of has faded a bit. So we shouldn't discount the importance of heaven in this equation.

Tim Lundy: 18:37 Yeah. When you say that, you know, it's hard enough to suffer when you know Christ, I feel for the people who don't have that hope. If you don't have heaven, you don't have eternity, you don't have Christ now, you can see why there's so much desperation in the world.

Lee Strobel: 18:52 Absolutely. Yeah. I remember when my...

Tim Lundy: 18:55 Let get to a few more of these, I've got one here, this is kind of based on a couple of weeks ago. It says, other than what's stated in the Bible, what evidence is there that the written Bible is inspired by God?

Lee Strobel: 19:08 Yeah. That's a great question, and often people use circular reasoning for this. They say, oh, the Bible says it's inspired by God, so it's inspired by God, well that's kind of circular reasoning. But you know, one thing I want to stress is it's interesting to me, and I'm doing this from memory now, so you can correct me if I'm wrong. But I don't believe any of the great creeds of the Christian Church through the centuries, I don't think any of them talk about an affirmation that the Bible is the Word of God. Now is it? Yeah. And the Bible does say it is inspired, and it is God's Word. But when I'm having a conversation with someone who's not a believer, and I'm trying to encourage them to take the Bible seriously, I don't start with the question, is this the inspired Word of God? I set that question aside, and I just focus on the question, can I reasonably trust the Bible for what it tells me is true? That's really the only standard we have to meet, we don't have to prove that the Bible is the inspired Word of God in order to establish that Christianity is true. We just have to treat it like any other ancient literature, and analyze it that way, to see that it stands up to scrutiny.

Lee Strobel: 20:28 I remember in my book called In Defense of Jesus, I interviewed a great scholar named Dr. Craig Evans, who's written or edited more than 50 books on the gospels, and the Bible's reliability, and so forth. He's spoken and taught a major universities around the world. And, I asked him, you know, can I trust what the Gospel's telling me, just historically, set aside from the Word of God? And he said, Lee, there is every reason to conclude that the gospels have fairly and accurately reported the essential elements of Jesus' teachings, life, death, and resurrection. And then he went through a series of reasons, he said, they're early enough, they're rooted into the right streams that go back to Jesus and the original people, there's continuity, there's proximity, there's verification of certain distinct points with archeology and other documents, and then there's the inner logic. And so when we put the gospels, for instance, in the New Testament to the test of historicity, I think they pass with flying colors.

Lee Strobel: 21:35 A friend of mine, J Warner Wallace, was a cold case homicide investigator and an atheist. He investigated the gospels from the perspective of a skeptical investigator, and came to faith because he concluded, for many reasons that he sets forth in his book called Cold Case Christianity, that they are reliable. It's interesting too, that when you look at the supernatural, and you can go on then to the supernatural qualities of the book. For instance, you have these prophecies, these predictions, in the Hebrew literature that we call the Old Testament, that are fulfilled hundreds of years later in the life, and teachings, and death, and miraculous resurrection of Jesus, fulfilled in the New Testament, there's no other book that has anything like that. Peter Stoner, who was a Professor of Mathematics out there at the University in California, he got a group of students together to run some mathematical equations to try to determine what are the odds that any human beings throughout history could fulfill just 48 of these ancient prophecies. And they were able to quantify these and run the numbers, and what they determined are the odds of any human being throughout history fulfilling just 48 of these prophecies is one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, that's equivalent to one atom in the entire known universe. I mean, to me, this speaks to the supernatural quality of the Bible itself. And I think based on that, based on its reliability, based on its transmission through time and so forth, I think we have good reason to believe, not only is it accurate, but it also is uniquely inspired by God. And I think the fulfillment of the prophecies are probably the best evidence of that.

Tim Lundy: 23:38 Yeah. I agree with you, the accuracy. I love archeology for that reason, because it keeps refining the Bible, the science it with it. And then I think about the cohesion of, I mean, what other book written over 1600 years, with 40 different authors, on three different continents, in three different languages? I mean, if we try to get 40 different authors today on three different continents, and get them to write one book, you wouldn't have the cohesiveness of the Bible, so that always stands out to me as well. All right, let me ask you another one that's came in over the last couple of weeks. It says, I want to hear Lee's thoughts and opinions on creation science, including evolution, how valid is it, and how to receive them. And I think he's talking about, maybe theistic evolutionist, how do you receive them as a Christian?

Lee Strobel: 24:26 Yeah. You know the Bible has what I picture to be an umbrella of orthodoxy. In other words, there are different positions, that Bible believing, God fearing, brothers and sisters in Christ, different ways in which they interpret the book of Genesis. There are those who believe that it indicates that the earth is young, it's 12,000 to 10,000 years old, that God created in a spirit in a period of six days, literal 24 hour days. There are those who are Bible believing Christians, who believe that the earth is billions of years old, and that God intervened at certain points in time to create different species and kinds of animals, and of course we have then proliferation as a result of that, that's why we have 200 different varieties of dogs, there is this kind of micro-evolution within species and so forth. And then there are those who are theistic evolutionists, Francis Collins, who was head of the human genome project, who was a physician as well as has a PhD, and help was led the team that cracked the code of the human genome, and who was an evangelical Christian. He was a theistic evolutionist who believes that evolution is true, but that God was behind it. In fact, the odds of evolution taking place are so astronomical that there must have been a God behind it. Now I think these different positions, are all legitimate positions under that umbrella of orthodoxy. We all agree on the essentials of Genesis, which is that God created everything from nothing, that he created us in his image, that we're accountable to him and so forth, we all agree on that. The mechanics of how this took place, we can disagree on that, and we can hold people to be brothers and sisters in Christ, even though we may disagree with their interpretation of Genesis.

Lee Strobel: 26:43 So, you know, personally, I'm not a theistic evolutionist, because I don't believe the evidence for evolution is that strong? Yes, I believe there's been change over time, of course, that's why we have 200 varieties of dogs. But do I believe there is sufficient evidence to convince me that if you take some dead organic compounds, and give them enough time and enough stimulation, that ultimately the result will be human beings, that takes more faith than I've got. So, I just don't think the evidence for evolution is as strong, it doesn't explain the Cambrian explosion some 540 million years ago and so forth. I'm not a young earth creationist either, I think the best explanation of the science and the Bible to me, is that God's specifically intervened at times to specifically create. And that there was some microevolution that's taken place over time, some people call this the Intelligent Design Argument. But what I did in writing my book, The Case For A Creator is I said, you know what, I don't want to try to convert someone who's not a Christian to two things. I don't want to convert them first to a position that the earth is 10,000 years old, and then convert them to Christianity. So what I said is look, most people, most scientists, believe that the universe, and the earth itself, are billions of years old. Let me start there, and I will build the case for a creator based on evidence that virtually every scientist in the world will agree to. That is cosmology, which is the origin of the universe, physics, the fine tuning of the universe, biological information in DNA, human consciousness. These are all things that virtually every scientist will agree to, and guess what, a series of discoveries over the last 50 or so years in those areas, I think point persuasively toward the existence of a God who matches the description of the God of the Bible.

Tim Lundy: 28:59 Yeah. I appreciated your book because you addressed it, taking that approach, because I think it's important. And I'll just say this, you know, I've got kids in college and over the next few years, I'll be sending them off every other year with it. And parents wrestle with this, and a lot of young people go to college and it's the first time they're ever exposed to any other view on creation, or where the world came from other than what they were taught. I think if we limit it to orthodoxy only being a young earth creationism, we are setting those kids up for a crisis of faith that they don't have to have. And so I just call people to, at least, we don't have to be scared as Christians, all truth is God's truth. Science has found its moorings in Christianity more than any other place, so the one area we should not be afraid, is science. And I say that with all respect for the different positions out of that, but I just, if we could hold at least under orthodoxy, under people who love the Bible and respect the Bible, this can be an area that we disagree.

Lee Strobel: 30:04 Exactly, I mean, when I talk to someone who's an evolutionist, I'll say, okay, I'm not, but let's start there. Go ahead and believe that the evolutionary processes resulted in the origin of diversity of life, go ahead and believe that. But let me tell you about Jesus, let me tell you about the Bible, let me tell you about the creation story of scripture. And ultimately after you come to faith, you can wrestle with these issues, just like all of us do and that's okay. So I want to say that I agree with you, that we ought to expose our young people to these different models. And say, you know what, I think this is the model that best fits scripture and science, but you don't have to agree with that. Let's look at these different models, and let's see that they all have some merit to them, and that they're all good natured and well-intentioned attempts to interpret the Bible, by Bible-believing Christians.

Lee Strobel: 31:09 And I want to say to those that go on to a university, to say, you know what, we can stand tall these days because it's just been in the last 50 years or so that we know that the universe had a beginning, and we know that whatever begins to exist has a cause, we know the universe began to exist, every scientist virtually agrees with that, and therefore, the universe must have a cause behind it. And as I talked about in my talk, that points toward a transcendent, immaterial, eternal being, that matches the description of the God in the Bible. Fine tuning of the universe, virtually every scientist will concede that the examples, there's maybe 50 or more in science and physics, of the fine tuning of the universe points toward a divine creator. Now, atheist try to get around it by saying, well, there's maybe an infinite number of universes. But what is the evidence for that? Tell me what the evidence is, there is no evidence for that. So, you know, and the information in DNA, you know, scientists will tell you that one message from space would be enough to know that there's an intelligence out there, but what's in every cell in your body? There is more information in every cell in your body then is in 200 years of the Sunday, New York times, where does that information come from? So I think we can make good arguments today based on what secular science tells us, that point toward the God of Christianity.

Tim Lundy: 32:48 That's great, let me get a few more of them here. Back on miracles, one's sent in by text. They said, I've witnessed miracles in my own and other's lives after prayers as a young Christian when I was living in Modesto. I moved to San Jose in 1986, I have not witnessed a miracle or, unbelievably, an answer to prayer since, I don't understand why. So it feels like they had appeared at time in life, they did and then now they don't.

Lee Strobel: 33:12 Yeah. you know, and I wish I could give you some reasons, I just can't, I don't know. I will reiterate what I said in my talk, which is that most often we see miracles in clusters, and so I don't think that miracles are necessarily evenly distributed around planet earth. We tend to see them in places where the gospel is just breaking in, like Mozambique, or Brazil, or China. And that makes sense, because it's pointing people toward a supernatural creator. But, you know, I wouldn't read anything into it that you moved to a different place and now you're not seeing miracles, there may be reasons why God has revealed himself in a miraculous event at one point, and not at another. And I just, you know, we can give these general answers like I gave earlier, but when you get into specifics, that's when we're going to have to raise our hand in eternity and say, Hey, Jesus, I've got a question for you, you know, and ask him about these specific cases.

Tim Lundy: 34:17 Well, and as you described it, even in scripture, you see clusters. There's the time period around Moses and Joshua, you saw tons of miracles, Elijah and Elisha, a lot of miracles, Jesus and the apostles. But, you know, there's huge swaths of scripture where you're not seeing miracles as we would describe them, but we would still say God's active and working, and so I think we've got to hold the same is true today.

Lee Strobel: 34:41 Yeah. Most often God works through these natural laws that he created. I mean, he went through all the effort to create these laws of nature, it makes sense that he would normally work through those laws of nature.
Tim Lundy: 34:56 And I personally hold, you know, we're created in God's image, and in that he's given us the ability to discover, to create. And so I hold modern medicine as a miracle from God that he gave through his creation of humans discovering it. And so, you know, you compare what we can do medically today compared to even a hundred years ago, they would've gone, that's miraculous, and so I never want to diminish that as well.

Lee Strobel: 35:22 Yeah, and you know, you could ask the question, if every prayer were answered immediately the way we want it to, how would that change our world? You know, would we even be accountable for things in our life if we can kind of snap our fingers and fix everything that we just messed up or whatever? You know, where does this stop? You know, so I mean, Robin Gill talks about that in his book on Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Tim Lundy: 35:56 I've got one, I believe we should pray boldly for God to intervene miraculously, but I struggle with thinking that it might do more harm than good to pray boldly with the person, especially an unbeliever, and then find out that God answered no, then it would be to pray a general prayer. What should be our attitude as Christians? And I thought that was a good question.

Lee Strobel: 36:15 That's a great question. I think we should, because the Bible tells us to boldly come to the throne of God, and James said, you have not because you ask not, and to ask God for healing, and we've asked that in Leslie's case many times. And you know, I think of the case of the woman whose case study was just published in a peer review journal. Whose husband, who was a Baptist pastor, prayed boldly for her. God, I know you can heal her tonight, please heal her right now. She opens her eyes, and after a dozen years of blindness, her eyesight is fully restored. So I think we have not because we ask not, I think we should as. But at the same time, I think if we're dealing with someone who's not a believer, we need to help them understand some of the things that we've talked about. That miracles are not a snap of the finger vending machine thing that we put in a prayer, and we get something automatically.

Lee Strobel: 37:15 That God can use the difficult circumstances of our life, ultimately for his good. Genesis 50 verse 20 talks about, you know, Joseph, talks about his brothers who abused him, threw him in a well to die, and how Joseph was ultimately elevated to a position where he could save his family and many other people. And he says, what you intended for evil, God used for good, and we have to help people understand that as well. And also to understand that Romans 8:28 is reserved for followers of Christ. It says, God will cause all things to work together for good, for those who follow him, who are called according to his purpose. And so that's not a promise for everybody, it's a promise reserved for those that have committed their lives to Christ.

Tim Lundy: 38:09 I remember several years ago, I was in Israel, and we were touring around and we were at the garden tomb. And we had this older British gentleman, couldn't have been kinder, just kind demeanor. And he he's walking and sharing, you can tell he just loved Jesus. And so finally, as he's sharing about the garden tomb with it, I asked him, I said, well, you know, thinking he'd probably been a Christian for years, he just had that demeanor about him. And I said, so when did you come to faith? And he said, oh, three or four years ago. I said, really? He goes, oh, you wouldn't have liked me then, I was bitte, I was mean, he said, I was mean to my wife for years, and part of it was chronic back problems. She became a Christian, and she asked me, she said, why don't you ask God to heal you? And he said, one night I was laying in my bed and almost scoffingly, I just prayed a prayer. Okay, God, if you're real, then heal my back. He said, I woke up the next morning and I've never had pain since And he said, few things have humbled me more, and, you know, as he described it he said, if that was real, I knew I had to investigate it. And to see his life change, and I said to him, I said, but you seem so gentle now. And his eyes kind of teared up, and he just said, you know, God's healed more than just my back, he's healed my heart too. And, you know, just seeing the impact of that, that he uses that to bring people to him even still.

Lee Strobel: 39:32 Absolutely. And I think, you know, a few things are as miraculous as the change that God brings about in a person's life when they come to faith. I know in my own life, and I talked about it, having been a narcissist, and a drunk, and a womanizer, and so forth, and how God changed my values, my character, my morality, my worldview, my philosophy, and attitudes, and so forth. But when I came to faith, that verse in Second Corinthians that says, you know, when we come to faith, you know, the old is gone, the new has come. That in itself, the transformation that God brings about in people's lives, is itself a great miracle.

Tim Lundy: 40:14 I would want us to end on that point, because, you know, as I look over the last few weeks, I look at your books, that's the part that stands out to me. That sometimes we diminish any of us who are Christians, as great as it is to have your body healed, have your soul healed, to know, you know, Jesus said, don't fear the one who can destroy the body, fear the one that controls your soul, and that's the miracle of life change that's given through Christ. I would just encourage anyone if you're hearing that, I'd love for you to experience the miracle that maybe you want in your life, a miracle of healing. But more than that, like you said, that lasts for such a short period of time, a miracle of when you're forgiven by Christ, it lasts for eternity.

Lee Strobel: 41:02 Yeah. You know, I wrote a book called The Case For Grace, and it's just a series of stories about how God transforms lives. And one of those stories involves a guy who killed 17,000 people, he was the head of the Khmer Rouge Torture Center during the Khmer Rouge Rebellion and insurgency in Cambodia. And he escaped, into the forest, and later was discovered living a life like Mother Teresa, serving people, helping build schools. And he was living like Mother Teresa, and they confronted him and said, are you count comrade Duke? And he said, yes, I am. And he admitted his crimes, and was convicted of genocide, and now is in prison for the rest of his life, in a prison in Cambodia. And you know what he does, he spends his days sharing Jesus with the guards and with the other prisoners. And if God can forgive an abominable life, like the one that he lived, there was no sin any of us have committed that's worse than that. And it just speaks to the volumes of God's grace, and his willingness to cleanse us if we come to him in repentance and faith, and receive this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

Tim Lundy: 42:36 Well, Lee, I want to thank you on behalf of Venture, just your ministry over these weeks. And like I said, we look forward to hosting you when circumstances are better. But could I ask you to do one more thing for us? Could you pray for our church, pray for maybe anybody who's hearing this, that God would maybe bring the miracle of life change that they need?

Lee Strobel: 42:56 Yeah, absolutely. Father, thank you for Tim, and Mike, and this entire church staff, the volunteers, the attenders, we just pray for a blessing on each one of them. we pray that you would use this church, as Jesus said in Matthew five, like a city on a Hill to shine your message of hope, and grace, and love, and redemption, and eternal life, to shine it all over the planet. So we pray that you would use them beyond anything they could do in and of themselves. That everyone would look at what you're doing in their midst, and say, this can only be of God, so we thank you that you are a God of grace and love. And I just pray for anybody right now who's listening to this, who says, I want to know that God, I'm not sure where I stand with him, I want a relationship with him, I want to be assured that I'll spend eternity with them.

Lee Strobel: 43:51 Father, for those people, I pray even at this moment that they would pray this prayer, whether out loud or in their heart, we know that you will hear them. To pray and to say, Lord Jesus, as best I can, I do believe that you are the Son of God, that you proved it by returning from the dead. And I admit the obvious, that I'm a sinner, and I want to turn from that. And in an attitude of repentance and faith, I to receive your free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Thank you for the gift of grace, thank you that you will open the door of heaven to all who come to you in repentance and faith. Father, we thank you for that truth, we thank you for those that right now are putting their trust in you through your Son Jesus Christ. We celebrate that, and we pray for those that are still on the journey that you would use this great church, that you would use Tim and others, teachers in that church, to help them come to the place where ultimately they will put their trust in you. Thank you for this great adventure of following you, we wouldn't have it any other way, we thank you for all this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Tim Lundy: 45:22 I would encourage you, if you prayed that prayer, there's a live prayer button right below on the screen. You click that, and somebody will pray with you right now. Or you can click the get connected button, and we'd love to follow up with you as well as a church.

Tim Lundy: 45:36 Well, Lee, I'm going to let you go. It sounds like you've got a phone call that you need to get to.

Lee Strobel: 45:41 They always come at the most inconvenient time.

Tim Lundy: 45:42 Well, it proves that we're still doing this thing, you know, it's real here with all of it. But on behalf of Venture, thanks so much.

Lee Strobel: 45:51 Thanks Tim, I appreciate it. Great to be with you, and hope to someday get out there and meet folks in person. God Bless.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600