I should start this review by saying that I believe in miracles. In fact, I always have. Even when people I loved died after I prayed for them to be healed. Even when the situations I prayed would change remained the same. I still never hesitate to ask God to make a difference in situations ranging from desperate to ordinary. This is part of the charismatic tradition in which I was raised (somewhat different from the Pentecostal tradition the author references throughout the book) and something that is still part of my faith.
I expected this book to be either written by an ardent Pentecostal promoting the reality of miracles or a cynical cessationist (someone who believes that all supernatural gifts of the spirit such as prophecy, tongues and miracles no longer occur) looking to disprove and explain away miraculous events. I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be neither.
Instead this is a candid look at miracles by someone who was brought up to believe in them in theory but not in practice. He believes in praying for miracles but isn’t part of a church tradition where it is made into much of a production. Stafford discusses the problems but also the freedom of demystifying miracles and healings. When our bodies heal themselves it is a wonderful, amazing event, and yet it is a function we take for granted. But he also acknowledges real experiences where nothing can explain why someone recovered except the supernatural hand of God.
This book is a great one for both believers in and skeptics of miracles alike because of the balanced few he presents. As a journalist, Stafford investigates but never allows himself to fall prey to cynicism. As someone who believes for and actively prays for miracles and healings I appreciate his suggestions for how to better handle the process. I think this book would also be beneficial to someone who is looking for more information about miracles but has many doubts. It is the most balanced view on the subject I’ve ever encountered. The author skillfully avoids stereotypes and catch phrases, instead focusing of the experiences of people he has encountered in his years as a journalist, allowing the reader to explore real miracles in the lives of real people. This is a worthwhile read and I highly recommend it.
I was not compensated for this review but I did receive a free copy of the book to review.
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