The movie begins with Doc Boyd and Dad Everett finishing up their latest con in Oklahoma. After successfully conning many lonely widows out of their money by getting them to invest in their fake oil wells, they decide to move on to Texas to take advantage of a new batch of widows with the same scheme. After a series of seemingly providential events, they find themselves in a tricky, extraordinary situation–they strike oil for real this time but have sold too many shares in the well. However, God uses this miracle to bless others and bring the con-men to him.
The true miracle of this movie is not simply about the remarkable oil well found by the two swindlers—rather, the true miracle seems to be that God was able to change the hearts of two wicked men who once preyed on the weak. He knows what it takes to bring each person to himself and strives to make that happen. Not only does God work in the lives of the con-men, he also showcases his power and love to those who see the transformation.
Miracles Then & Now
When people talk about miracles, most will point to Old Testament examples or the miracles that Jesus performed while he walked the earth. However, some people even doubt that these miracles occurred.
In 1832, the lectures and notes of German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) were compiled into the book The Life of Jesus. Schleiermacher tried to explain the miracles that Jesus performed as Jesus simply having the ability to predict natural events and, for the ones that couldn’t be explained in this way (like the Resurrection), as events that were not meant to be understood as factual accounts. C.S. Lewis wrote one of his most substantive books (Miracles) in stark disagreement. In his book, Lewis explained that miracles are more than statistical anomalies—they are naturally impossible events by which God acts. He explained that a belief in miracles is actually essential to the Christian faith. More recently (2011), the New Testament scholar Craig Keener wrote a two-volume book on miracles in which he discusses the credibility of the miracles of the New Testament.
Even with all that evidence, there is still skepticism from those who believe in past miracles that those same types of miracles occur today. However, one need not look far to find countless examples of what could be considered modern-day miracles. Miraculous healing seems to come through the hands of doctors, miraculous anointing oil (James 5:14), and even through prayer alone in today’s world. Other miracles occur today, too, like the visions and dreams of Jesus that people are having in the Middle East. Numerous people have harrowing stories of being in accidents where they could have lost their lives, or at least been horribly injured, and yet they walk out of them with barely a scratch.
As if these kinds of traditional miracles weren’t enough, there are everyday miracles that happen too. When two become one through the union of marriage, God is intervening. Whenever the sin nature of people is overcome, addictions are conquered, or relationships are healed, God is intervening. However, due to instances like these being more common, they are often not seen as miracles.
Although God’s miraculous works may not seem as obvious to those of us in the Western world, the truth is that they are still happening in all kinds of ways. For those who deny that God is still working miracles today, perhaps their view of the world is too small and needs to be reenchanted to see the impossible done by God (Luke 18:27).
A Miracle among Miracles
Even though we don’t see the Red Sea being parted today, other things we do see are just as miraculous. And nothing is more miraculous than people being saved by God, who so clearly loves them. God is willing to go to the utmost lengths to save us, as seen demonstrably through the quintessential miracle of raising his son, Jesus, for our justification (Romans 4:25).
Jesus, being fully God and fully man, humbled himself to the death of a Cross, so that the lost may be saved. Hearing about this miraculous event may, unfortunately, come off as trite or rote for those who have grown up with this message. But we must never forget the personal significance of this miracle for us, and the redemption from sin and death that was accomplished by it. Even if we don’t always see the miracles around us, we can be sure that we have a place in the greatest miracle of all time.
We know that God, through Jesus, is drawing all people to himself (John 12:32). Just like we saw in Miracle in East Texas with Doc Boyd and Dad Everett, God is providentially at work calling people into the light and his Kingdom.
To support more resources like this consider becoming a Truth Partner! Partner with Summit every month to ensure students are equipped to stand for truth.