In Mormon circles, people typically express the views that faith precedes miracles and that the truly righteous do not need miracles to develop their faith. I want to argue that this view overlooks the importance that miracles do and should play in our decisions to follow Christ.
Faithful people often do receive miracles. But unfaithful people do, too. A miracle can create faith in God when it provides the spark we need to seek him out. Two examples come readily to mind: the apostle Paul and Alma the Younger.
Closer to home, if it wasn’t for miracles, broadly defined, I doubt many people would remain faithful members of the church. What we believe is crazy. Where is the evidence for angels or raising the dead? But despite this absence of evidence, concrete moments where we feel God performing miracles in our lives give many of us the faith we need to keep grappling with the gospel. I cannot separate my faith from these miracles, nor do I believe that I should.
To argue that God requires our faith to do miracles unacceptably limits God’s power. To argue that we must have faith before we receive miracles leads to the equally unacceptable conclusion that we should exercise belief on the basis of nothing. So perhaps we should recognize the role that miracles play in developing faith rather than insist that truly faithful people don’t need miracles.