Why doesn't God perform a spectacular miracle and prove Himself

Question: Why are there no clearly visible miracles today that shout--without a shadow of a doubt-to everyone in the world: 'There is a God!'?

Answer: Many of us want strong, even overwhelming reasons to believe in God. Some people believe in God's existence because of strong factual and philosophical reasons (some presented in the section The Existence). Others believe in God because of answered prayer, direction he has given them in life, or ways that God has changed their life.

But why doesn't God just exhibit himself in such a blatant way that people would HAVE to believe he exists? A good answer is presented by Philip Yancey in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew (particularly pp. 74-80).

Yancey points out that God has given us the freedom to believe in him or not. And he says, "My faith suffers from too much freedom, too many temptations to disbelieve. At times I want God to overwhelm me, to overcome my doubts with certainty, to give final proofs of his existence and his concern. I want a God without ambiguity, One to whom I can point for the sake of my doubting friends." But then he says, "The more I get to know Jesus, the more impressed I am by what [Dostoevsky] calls the miracle of restraint."

Jesus could have performed such large, spectacular miracles that people would have to believe in him. He could have healed entire towns with one mass proclamation. He could have instantly set the entire present day Michigan Avenue of Chicago right before them. Or he could have done a number of other breath-taking miracles where people would be forced to believe in him. But God always upholds the free will he created us to have.

Yancey says, "More amazing is his refusal to perform and to overwhelm. God's terrible insistence on human freedom is so absolute that he granted us the power to live as though he did not exist, to spit in his face, to crucify him. I believe God insists on such restraint because no pyrotechnic displays of omnipotence will achieve the response he desires. Although power can force obedience, only love can summon a response of love, which is the one thing God wants from us and the reason he created us."

If God really displayed his power in an overwhelming manner, he could force us to believe in him. He could easily force us to obey him. He could command anything he wanted. But what God wants is for us to know him as our Father, Friend, Comforter, Counselor, Lord -- willingly, not under compulsion.

He has given us more than ample reason to believe in him. But he doesn't force us to know him. Even as Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one opens the door, I will come into him" (Revelation 3:20). He enters our lives at our permission. And if we sincerely want to find out if he's there and what he is like, he will allow us to find him and know him.