According to Jules: A Gangster’s Belief in Miracles

YaycpTlO5FgThroughout my life, I’ve vacillated quite significantly on what is, in fact, a miracle.

One reason may be that there are a lot of people in this world (most without actual miraculous experiences) who have a different definition of what a miracle is. And I don’t know if even at this point in my faith journey I can say what one is. But I can say what it is not.

 The character Jules (played by Samuel L. Jackson) in Pulp Fiction has something to say about miracles. This comes after he has just bullet-riddled several low-key gangsters, only to find himself looking down the barrel of gun. But at close range, all of the bullets miss him (miraculously). The death-defying experience shakes Jules up pretty good, certainly a diversion from his usual cool self.

Jules determines he has witnessed a miracle. After failing to convince his partner Vincent that a miracle happened, he says this: “Whether or not what we witnessed was an According to Hoyle miracle is insignificant. What is significant is I felt the touch of God. God got involved.”

I used to love this quote. I’d post it on my AOL away message, so proud that a dirty gangster flick actually had something positive to say about God. But does it?

I won’t pick apart Jules’ quote here and try to prove why it’s all theologically bogus. I don’t know that it is. Perhaps some of it has some truth. But lately, the “God got involved” part hasn’t been sitting right with me.

First, I’ll acknowledge God getting involved in our lives is pretty amazing. It’s incredible to think an infinitely massive Creator cares a lick about little ole me. But I believe He does. Now, is it a miraculous thing for him to get involved in our lives? Maybe. Certainly I believe the spiritual realm exists outside of science. The spiritual realm cannot be measured, nor can it be subject to the laws of the very world it created. We understand miracles as existing outside of the scientific realm, particularly because miracles are initiated in the spiritual realm.

Notwithstanding, I’m not certain Jules is paying God a compliment in this context. When Jules says God got involved, he seems pretty shocked by this and has seemingly not experienced this before. Perhaps it was difficult for him to encounter the divine in a world where people regularly blew other people’s faces off. That would be understandable. But to say God got involved like it was abnormal is a very Deist way of looking at things, as if God is usually sitting on the sidelines and decides to come play in the game on rare occasions.

Instead, what if God is always involved? What if he is always present, always acting, always working for the good of those who love Him? My experience is that he is certainly not idle. Scripture tells us that for thousands of years He prepared the world for His Son, and thousands of years after His Son’s coming He is still moving, still saving, still involved.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on Jules. Maybe he really was impressed by God. But if we are waiting around to see something miraculous to prove to us that God is involved, we may be missing the point. I think God is always involved, and for that I’m in awe.

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