Miracles are an important part of the Bible – especially the ministry of Jesus. The Bible tells us they were necessary so people could tell God from magicians and fake gods. Modern theologians often try to explain miracles as some natural phenomenon God used to make a point.
Unfortunately, that viewpoint undermines the very purpose of miracles – God being able to overcome natural laws only because He is the one who created them and is more powerful than those laws.
There is a fun activity you can do to help your kids understand how impossible it is for man to do a true miracle (Note: During the Ten Plagues the magicians could fake the first few plagues, but soon gave up as God increased the miracles).
You will need your kids, a Bible and a large paper or plastic plate, markers, sticks, optional masking or colored tapes. Tell your children the stories told in Joshua chapters 10, 11 and 18. Talk about the miracle involved. Explain that God uses miracles to remind people He is God and can control anything – including the sun.
Help your children understand the basics of how the sun normally moves during the day, creating a marker for time. By causing the sun to stand still, God was in effect making time stand still as well. (Since this is a difficult concept for children to understand, you may want to do the craft before telling the story. Take the finished sundials outside and have them note where the shadow is at that time. After telling the story and discussing it , note where the shadow is at this point. It won’t move much in those fifteen minutes, but if you have marked where it was, a slight difference should be visible.)
Give them paper plates. Have them decorate the center with something that helps them remember God as the Creator can change any “rules” of nature with miracles any time He wants. Have them mark the rim of the plate with numbers like a clock. (Plates can be pre-marked with tape at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 positions.) Help them insert the stick in the middle of the plate through the hole made there. Have them put a bit of play dough on the reverse side of the sundial around the stick. (This will keep the stick stable and more accurate.)
Take the sundials outdoors and line them up so the shadow reflects the current time. Have your kids try to make time stand still as reflected on the sun dial. The only ways they can think of (like casting a shadow over the sundial) are really tricks and aren’t actually making the sun stand still. Explain that in order for God to do that He broke several of the natural laws He created (like rotation of the Earth – technically if that were to happen all sorts of things would happen) But God was able to break the rotation for a time without the negative consequences only because He is God and it was a true miracle.
Remind your kids that anyone who tries to deny or downplay God’s miracles in the Bible is attempting to diminish God’s power. Fortunately, God is all powerful and His power cannot be removed merely because someone refuses to believe in miracles.