God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. Acts 19:11

This comment was made when Paul was in Ephesus during his third missionary trip. Paul had experienced some very difficult times during his previous travels. “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea … in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles …” (2 Corinthians 11:24-25).

It was A.W. Tozer who said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.” This seems to be the case for Paul. Yet through all his difficulties, he grew in his faith. Now God was able to use him to perform not just “miracles” but “extraordinary miracles.”

The children of Israel saw a number of remarkable miracles—the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven but seeing these miracles didn’t grow their faith. It’s remarkable, and disturbing, that the Israelites experienced so many miracles in their travels but it seemed to have so little effect on their level of faith. History teaches us that miracles don’t produce revivals, even if revivals often produce miracles.

Even the miracles that Jesus performed may have attracted a crowd but they didn’t grow people’s faith. Unfortunately, it seems that the thing that grows our faith is going through difficulties. Difficulties place us in a position where we have to trust God and we find he is faithful.

Many of us would like God to use us to perform extraordinary miracles, but are we prepared to go through the tough times which build our faith so that God can?