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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sometimes it takes more than once to "get it"

There is something pretty important we need to realize as we come to Jesus. As we come, we often expect the immediate healing of all our anxieties, hang-ups, and long-held issues.  The frustration comes in knowing there are things in our lives which Jesus forgives and then he "deals" with them for a while until we realize they are finally gone.  I often throw clothes in the washer without doing a thorough inspection of them to see if they have any noticeable stains on them. When I remove them, I usually try to look at them a little bit before I put them in the dryer because we all know the heat of the dryer "sets" the stain in deeper. There are those occasions when I just plop and throw - not really paying much attention to them either when I put them in the washer or when I add them to the dryer.  Guess what usually happens when this occurs - yep, there is inevitably some big old stain right down the front of one of mom's tops, or on my favorite pair of pants.  Now I have to work harder to get the stains out, taking not only extra effort, but extra time to work on them until they are gone.  Just as with the stains on the clothes, the stuff in our lives which gets "paid attention to" gets dealt with in pretty short order compared to the stuff we just let "get by". 

Jesus and his followers came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch the man. So Jesus held the blind man’s hand and led him out of the village. Then he spit on the man’s eyes. He laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see now?” The man looked up and said, “Yes, I see people. They look like trees walking around.” Again Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes, and the man opened them wide. His eyes were healed, and he was able to see everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25 ERV)

We "come" to Jesus just as we are - complete with all our hang-ups and messiness.  We sometimes "stay" with Jesus for a while with a few or more of these hang-ups and messy areas in our lives - not because he doesn't have the capability to immediately deal with them and remove them, but because there is something which happens in the continual "washing" which occurs.  In those moments of seeking him out again and again to finally remove the "stains" of sin from our lives, we find there is a connection made much like the connection made when he led this blind man out of the village.  

1. At first, we may not even realize how to get free from those things which have been "with us" for so long in our lives.  This is where we need the faithfulness of friends who will walk with us to the place we come face-to-face with Jesus.  It is important to note that this man might have known he was in the presence of Jesus, but he didn't yet see Jesus fully for who he was.  The friends were the ones interceding for this man - it wasn't the man begging for his healing - it was the friends.  I think we might just miss that when we casually read over this passage.  We need each other - plain and simple.  We may not recognize how much until we find our friends interceding for the mess or lives have become.

2. It isn't until we reach out and take the hand extended to us that our journey to healing can begin.  This is a starting point - taking the hand of Jesus.  We might want immediacy, but Jesus wants connection.  In those moments of holding the hand of Jesus, I imagine Jesus walking this man past one obstacle and then another, until he finally has him right where he wants him to be in order to receive his ultimate healing.  We might not recognize the obstacles we are avoiding along the way, but with the navigation of our Savior, we are sure to get to our destination.

3. We want the conventional, but Jesus is not afraid to use the unconventional means to begin within us what needs to be done.  I am not sure if I would have been all that excited about mud made from spit being placed on my eyes, but I do know God has used some pretty "unconventional" means by which he has opened my eyes to the reality of who he is in my life.  I don't want us to count on the "tried and true" as being the only "way" God works within us - he may go about bringing healing into our lives by some pretty "odd" means.  Our part is to remain open to the possibilities of what he is accomplishing by his touch. 

4. There were multiple points of "connection" in order for this man to realize his full healing.  He gained a little hope with the first "mud" application - but he gained much more with each repeated touch from the Savior.  It is this frequency of connection which brings us to a place we "open our eyes wide" so we can see fully what he has been accomplishing not only in us, but around us. The blind man depended on others to help his find his way, and as his healing began, he still didn't have perfect clarity.  We often don't "get fully" what God is doing in us, but it is that repeated connection with him coupled with our willingness to do as he says that brings us to the place of complete deliverance in our lives.

I don't know why Jesus made him walk out of town with him.  Maybe it was so he would begin to trust Jesus a little by walking with him a ways - depending on him to bring him safely to the place he needed to be.  I don't know why the first application of mud didn't do the trick.  Maybe it was because Jesus knew something about this man, or those who were looking on that day, which made him "take his time" in order to help others around him come to a greater place of trust and faith.  I don't know why the man was told to go home and not go into town, but maybe it was because Jesus wanted him to celebrate this beautiful thing with those he was closest to first.  We may not know the reason for the delay in our 'total healing' in some of those areas where we seem to be blind to any form of light streaming through, but trust me on this one - when we make frequent and purposeful connection with Jesus, we can count on our healing to come.  When it does, we need to celebrate it with those who had the faith to bring our need to Jesus in the first place!  Just sayin!