Mark Batterson Believes Miracles Still Happen!
Mark was just 5 years old when his parents took him to see a movie made through Billy Graham’s ministry, called the Hiding Place. The film significantly impacted Mark and he gave his life to following God. When he turned 19 years old, he realized that he had been asking Jesus to follow him instead of following Jesus. He accepted the invitation to follow Jesus and pursued a calling to ministry. He later became the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C., which reaches thousands of people with it’s 7 locations.
Mark believes that miracles are happening all around us, all the time, but that we don’t always see them because we don’t know how to look for them. Mark attributes this to inattentional blindness, which he describes as, “the failure to notice something in your field of vision because you are focused on something else…” He gives the example of when Harvard University did an experiment in which they filmed students passing basketballs. In the middle of the film, a woman dressed in a gorilla suit walks into the frame, beats her chest, and walks out of the frame. Viewers were given instructions to count the number of passes the players made. Half of the test group did not notice the gorilla. Mark shows how when we are intently focused on something we can miss events happening right in front of our eyes.
Mark also shows that there are many people who do not believe in miracles because of reason. He shares how Thomas Jefferson, affected by the teachings of the Enlightenment, created a new bible excluding all of the miracles that Jesus did because they were not logical. Mark goes on to say, “When you subtract the miracles like Thomas Jefferson did, you’re left with a very wise yet weak Jesus.” Miracles simply show that God is powerful and can overcome anything. John 14:12 says, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.” Mark reveals that believers are called to participate in miracles and that they are in the scriptures for a reason; to bring glory to God.
Mark believes that one of the biggest reasons that most people don’t experience miracles is because most people are not willing to put themselves in situations that necessitate them. Mark says, “We comfort the grieving instead of calling dead people out of the tomb. But if we took a few more risks, we might see a few more miracles!” He also reveals that we have to be willing to risk our reputation in order to see more miracles. Mark says, “Sometimes you need to lay your credibility on the line! That’s what Jesus did when He called Lazarus out of the tomb.”
Mark reveals two trip wires that keep people from believing in miracles. The first is subliminal skepticism, which is a predisposition of unbelief based on past experience. He believes that many times we choose not to believe because we have seen people try and manufacture miracles or lie about them. Mark says, “Skeptics throw the baby out with the bathwater because they cannot filter out what is false… But don’t let the existence of what is false keep you from believing what is true.” Mark shows how counterfeits only point to there being something that is real. The second trip wire is that of dormant disappointment. Mark says, “...it’s a mistake to allow a single disappointment to make you throw in the miracle towel altogether. Disappointment is a knee-jerk reaction––we pull back on the reins of faith because we don’t want to feel the sting of disappointment again.” He believes that we need to confront the disappointments of our past and trust that God can still work miracles.