They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” Mark 8:23-36
“They look like trees walking around.” I think thing that resonates with this story for me is that the man wasn’t completely healed on the first go around. I can relate to his blurry vision! I, too, take my hurts and weaknesses to the Lord, and I get some better, but I still feel like I’m bumping around in the world.
Ha! Just like the people in the story, we expect that when we come to Jesus, everything is going to get fixed right away. It often doesn’t work that way.
I have an underlying anger (with flavors of discontent, pride and faithlessness) that I wish Jesus would just poof away in me. It’s so hard to get a handle on. I work on it. I look at the example of Jesus. I look at the cross. I look at my sin. I seek to trust more. All of these things help. But then I feel the anger bubble up out of what seems to be nowhere, and it begins to simmering under the surface. If I’m not careful, it will rule my day.
But I have finally been getting a better handle on my anger. I’ve gotten to the root of it more. I’ve found Biblical solutions that finally clicked!
I’m so glad I hung in there. I think sometimes God just wants us to learn to persevere.
- By your patient endurance, you will gain your souls. Luke 21:19
- Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
- You need to persevere, so that after you have done God’s will, you will receive what He has promised. Heb 10:36
- . . . because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:3-4
- He who perseveres to the end will be saved. Matt 24:13
I believe that one reason God allows us to struggle, is so that we will come to him. The blind man was willing to take Jesus’s hand and go wherever he was led. He was willing to let Jesus put spit on his eyes! Okay, maybe the blind man didn’t think that is as gross as we think. But what does it take to get to the point of going with Jesus whereever he leads? Look at what Paul wrote in II Corinthians 1:8b-9:
We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. II Cor 1:8-9
Things happen so we learn to rely on God.
Is this to be a one time lesson?
I learned something interesting about the beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” (Matt 5:6) The actual wording of that verse means that you have a continual hunger for righteousness, not a hunger where you’re satisfied and it’s gone.
I think we’re meant to have a continual hunger. I think that we’re meant to go through life like the blind man who is half healed, with blurry vision. “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror . . . ” (I Cor 13:12) We’re not there yet, and that’s a good thing, because it keeps us thirsting for God. It keeps us looking to him as the only real source and solution.
Jesus does heal. I am so thankful that God gave me the strength to persevere. I can think of so many things in my life that are miraculously better — my marriage, my friendships, situations with my family, situations with my emotional health. Many of my spiritual dreams have come true.
But there will always be other things, like my anger, that tempt me to despair.
I have to remember that even Paul, who had the power to heal others, couldn’t heal his own “thorn in the flesh.” Jesus told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” II Cor 12:9a
Sometimes we need grace, more than we need healing. Because Grace is sufficient. It can assuage the hunger.
Last week I visited my friend Bobbie.
Bobbie has some health challenges, and hasn’t been able to get out much. This is hard, because Bobbi has a huge heart. She wants to be with people and love them.
“My body wants to be full of energy and stamina,” Bobbie told me. “But this is a different season. I am so content and happy.”
Isn’t that amazing that Bobbie is content and happy? Bobbie has learned to feed on the grace, the spiritual food that satisfies her even when her health is poor and her life could dissatisfy.
Let’s all learn to feed on the grace. Let’s learn to persevere. And let’s learn to hope.
Because healing in some areas will come while we’re on earth. And one day we will be completely healed in heaven.