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God's Noninterventions

There is a purpose to God's silence.


When I was a boy, my sister left our home in Pitcairn, Pennsylvania, and traveled to Central Bible College. She had a lifelong problem with her eyesight. She had 20 percent vision in one eye and 50 percent vision in the other, and wore thick, Coke-bottle glasses.

During a fall revival at Central Bible College, she had been praying at the altar and saw a vision of Jesus on the cross. She felt a voice, saying to her, "Doris, take off your glasses." In those years, if you wore glasses, you were prayed for on a regular basis—that you would be healed. My sister had had enough of that, so she said, "No."

Again she felt the voice say to her, "Doris, take off your glasses."

Again her response was, "No."

A third time, while she was having the vision of Jesus on the cross, she felt this voice say to her, "Doris, take off your glasses."

She sensed it might be the Lord, so she prayed, "Lord, if I take these glasses off, I don't want to ever put them on again."

The vision disappeared, she opened her eyes, and she had perfect sight. It's been 50 years. She has never put on a pair of glasses to this day.

God offers both intervention and nonintervention in Acts.

We understand something about God's intervention. We don't understand the other side of the story all that well: God's nonintervention. The Book of Acts is an excellent text for us, because it tells of both God's intervention and his nonintervention. 

Over the years, I've come to conclude that his nonintervention is a companion to his interventions; both are part of his actions. In speaking of God's nonintervention, I don't want to minimize his interventions, and I don't want in any way to break a balloon of faith that would defeat you from praying for the Lord to change ...

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George Wood is superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God.

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I. God intervenes, and does not intervene in Acts.

II. By nonintervention, God preserves human freedom.

III. By nonintervention, God allows us to mature.

IV. By nonintervention, God allows us to show grace.

V. By nonintervention, God advances the gospel.

VI. By nonintervention, God deepens our faith.

VII. We may never know why God doesn't intervene.