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Page 217

    When visiting the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, Edith heard the Mormon tour guide tell the miraculous story behind a commemorative statue of a seagull.

    "When our forefathers traveled by covered wagon to this place," the guide said, "their food supplies would only last one year. After the land was plowed and the first crops were growing (the crops which were needed to keep everyone alive), a terrible problem occurred. Swarms of grasshoppers suddenly appeared and began to totally destroy the much-needed crops.

    "The entire settlement cried earnestly to God for help, and the following morning, thousands of gulls from the Great Salt Lake settled upon the fields and ate every grasshopper. God miraculously preserved our early forefathers."

    This story bothered Edith. When traveling the following day, she asked, "Dad, you do not believe that the Mormon religion is the true religion of the Bible, do you?"

    "No, I do not," her father replied.

    "Then how is it possible that God performed the miracle of the gulls to keep all the Mormon settlers alive?"

    "Well, Edith," her father responded, "You must remember that God outwardly helps millions of people, even miraculously, who believe in all types of different religions or even in no religion at all. Remember when God preserved Nineveh in the time of Jonah? Do you think all the Ninevites were spiritually saved? What do you think of all the Israelites God cared for so remarkably, or the five thousand Christ fed? God is merciful to care for people's physical needs when they cry to Him, and this can be accompanied with, or separated from, true saving faith.

How do God's gifts or miracles of common grace differ from those of saving grace? Can miraculous and saving faith work together? Do they always occur together? Can you provide biblical examples to support your answers?

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