Miracles Don’t Change Hearts
– Emily Day
Being an SBS student is one thing. Inductively studying the entire Bible in nine months is a challenge, to be sure. But staffing one… well that is just an entirely different game.
As one of my staff said, “SBS as a student is intense. SBS as a staff is stressful.” She went on to talk about how grateful she is to be studying and teaching truth. Despite the weight of responsibility being a staff holds, she still considers it to be a joy and an honour. Wow. What a lady. Our staff put in countless unseen hours to bring as much light and understanding to the book they are teaching. I am blown away by their dedication to us!
For this reason I decided to interview our awesome staff member, Marilane Carmo, who taught us the book of Exodus.
Mari kept our attention in class with her amazing story telling abilities and obvious passion for God’s Word, especially the book of Exodus. She brought to light the story of the Israelites figuring out who God was to them, and helped us relate to the Israelites.
Right off the bat, Mari said something that caught my attention, “Miracles don’t change our hearts.” So I asked her more about it in our interview. She said, “We have experienced so many miracles – I have, in my own life, in my work in Asia – but every time you have a new challenge, it’s like you forget about all those miracles. And so then your heart is back in that place of doubt, is back in that place of wondering if God is going to fulfill what He has promised.”
Mari went on to say, “What changes our hearts is knowing the truth, knowing who God is and believing in what the Bible says, regardless of our circumstances. I can experience a big miracle. But just like the people of Israel, in three days, be complaining and wondering if God is going to be faithful. Will He take me to where He has promised, although He has just shown it through a lot of miracles.”
In the SBS, when we study the book, we start with observing the text. Then we interpret our observations based on the context of the book, and from our interpretations we find the truths that we can actually apply to our 21st century lives. I asked Mari what some of her favourite truths were from the book of Exodus that she enjoys sharing when she is teaching in Asia. She said, “God is a relational God. He wants to have relationship with people. In the communities I’m teaching in Asia, it’s all about do’s and don’ts. It’s really hard for people to understand what it means to have a relationship with God. That’s what I want them to know.”
Before our staff teach a book of the Bible, they study it over and over. As Mari studied the book of Exodus, I was curious to know if God revealed anything new to her. She hit one the biggest stumbling blocks people have with the Old Testament, the law. Mari had some really great insights about it, “I’ve never thought of the law as a step of grace, God showing grace to his people. God did not have to choose to have a covenant with his people, but He chose to because He loves them. He loves people. He gave the law because He wanted to reach us. He wanted to have relationship with his people. When you first read it, it sounds so legalistic – just a whole bunch of do’s and don’ts – but it was the only way that sinful people could have a relationship with a holy God. It shows God’s mercy and grace when He sets up that whole system so that people could come and have relationship with him.”
I love what Mari had to say about miracles, and what really changes our heart. I’m so thankful that Mari was able to illuminate the grace and mercy of God that is woven all throughout Exodus. She pulled out the nature of God from passages that seem legalistic and harsh. It is seriously a treasure to have staff that have wrestled through these books in order to lead us into understanding when we come across the same stumbling blocks.
God has gotten us here, to YWAM Vancouver. For some of us just that is a miracle! But it’s what we will do here that is going to change us. It’s about relationship with God, getting to know Him better through his Word, and really understanding what Christ has done for us. Miracles don’t change hearts. God does.
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