Did you ever notice that things we call “natural” are those to which we have grown accustomed? Meanwhile, we reserve the term “supernatural” for events which are unusual, extraordinary, infrequent or which we cannot explain. Following such reasoning, many Westerners since the Enlightenment watched the “supernatural” shrink in direct relation to the increase of calculated human observation and organized descriptive thought concerning the world around us — in other words, with the rise of modern science.
I want to go the other direction. Everything God does is “supernatural,” for, although he is interested in Nature and is involved in it, he himself is above and outside it as its creator, sustainer, destroyer and redeemer. As a starting place for this radical new thinking, consider the simple acts of going to sleep at night and awaking the next morning.
Besides the near-miraculous regenerative effects of sleep on the body and mind — quickly confirmed by anyone who misses sleep for one or two nights straight, then “catches up” to be refreshed — I think of the mere fact of awaking at all. As a senior in college many years ago, I experienced a horror each night for a while as I considered the possibility of awaking the next morning to discover that my entire memory had disappeared, including all the information I had worked so hard to learn for my various classes. Yet each night my consciousness ceased, and every morning it revived again. With the dawning of each new day, I was a functional being with cognitive-rational abilities and bodily mobility. Why?
God’s gift, I affirm, and that is the end of the matter. GOD enables us to go to sleep at night (if we could not, we would eventually die a slow and horrible death). And GOD causes us to wake again the next morning — alert, active and aware of ourselves, our surroundings and our Creator. “I lay down and slept,” the Psalmist wrote. “I awoke, for the LORD sustains me” (Psalm 3:5). And if that’s not supernatural, I simply don’t know what might be.