All throughout the four Gospels are stories of divine acts of healing. Some of these miraculous accounts are told multiple times, from a different vantage point or perspective. Yet, there are other miracles recorded only once. Within the book of Mark is one of these exclusive miracles. In Mark 8:22-26, a miracle of healing takes place that may leave you scratching your head and full of questions. This Gospel tells us about Jesus healing a blind man outside the village of Bethsaida.
In the text, some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged Him to touch and heal him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside of the village. Jesus then spat on the blind man’s eyes, touched him, and asked him could he see. The blind man responded that he could see people, but they looked like trees walking around. A second time, Jesus puts His hands on the man’s eyes, and the man’s sight was fully restored.
Why did Jesus take him outside of the village? Why did He use such an unconventional method such as saliva? Why didn’t the blind man receive his sight immediately? Why is this the only recorded miracle in the Gospels that took place in stages? And, finally, what does any of this have to do with me?
Well, if you have been following my blog, you know that about one year ago, almost to the exact day, I attended a women’s conference in Columbia, SC. There, God met me in a most unusual, exceptional way.
The day before, I was not even sure I was going to attend. I was in excruciating pain, but if I am honest, I believed that this was going to be a conference just like any other. My expectations were not that high. But my friend had great faith and believed the uncommon was going to happen just for me. He convinced me to make the drive to Columbia. In the same way, I’m sure it’s safe to assume that the blind man did not get to Jesus on His own; he had help to get there and possibly even others standing in faith believing that he would see again. Like me, perhaps the blind man, and even you, we often need the help of those around us to carry us to the Master through prayer and faith. Our faith may not always be strong enough to get us to Christ on our own, but through encouragement of other Christians, we can find ourselves at the feet of Christ ready to receive His healing touch!
Next, we see that Jesus led him outside of the village. For me, being led outside of the village was going to SC. I was removed from my home, state, and everything of comfort that I knew. I was going to a church I have never been before, surrounded by complete strangers. These strangers, however, would later become my cheering squad. I was literally led by hand out of my seat by Dr. Marcia Bailey and Prophetess Brenda Todd. Encompassed by a great crowd, it was as if those two led me away straight to the feet of Jesus.
The text then said that Jesus spat right into the blind man’s eyes and touched him. Could Jesus have healed the man without spitting into his eyes? Sure, He could. We have read other accounts of miracles without this action. What I suppose we are to gather from this is that Christ has a method, a calculated process, for our specific situation. Every miracle will not be the same. After the first spit and touch from Christ, the man can see people, but they appear as trees to him. His vision was blurry. I surmise we can say with some certainty that the man was not born blind as he was able to distinguish between people and trees.
This is, however, where I would like to hang my hat for a moment. As mentioned previously, this is the only miracle that takes place in stages. In every other divine act of healing, the miracle took place with the first effort. Did Christ mess up or was He not able to heal him the first time? Is Jesus not able to heal me completely? These are questions I started to ponder as I considered my own cancer story.
When I attended the women’s conference, I had a tumor the size of a tennis ball on my liver. Even amid so many women, it was as if Christ made everyone disappear and it was only He and I in the sanctuary. His presence was so near and tangible. All present believed that God had healed me right on the spot. I just knew that cancer was going to be over for me, quick, fast, and in a hurry. Upon my next round of scans and tests, I was assured that my pathology report would read NED (no evidence of disease), and cancer would just be a memory blowing in the wind.
But this was just the beginning of my blurry season. My next pathology report revealed that the tumor on my liver had wholly disappeared! As ecstatic as I was, I was also disappointed. I still had stage 4 terminal cancer. I felt like the blind man. There were some things that had changed—he could see people as trees and the tumor on my liver was gone—but the full miracle had not manifested.
God, what is going on? I thought you were going to heal me. What are the saints going to think? They are expecting me to be cancer free. And you know how some think, that if I am not cancer free then there must be something wrong with me spiritually. Where is my manifestation of healing? I am tired of struggling with cancer. Where are you, God? I know I told you I yield to however you want to heal me, but this is dragging on too long. This sucks!
These and so many other thoughts were floating around my head. I imagine the blind man may have felt the same way. Even though he could not see, I am sure he heard of all the miracles God had performed. Why was his taking longer? Why is mine taking longer? What do I do in the middle—in my blurry season—while I wait for God to complete my miracle? The answer: continue to move and do not faint.
We live in the microwave society. We want everything fast; the quicker, the better. Patience is a virtue we do not want to learn. And when it comes to spiritual matters, we sometimes have the tendency to believe that the faster God brings us through our afflictions, the closer we must be to Him. And if it takes a long time, then that person must be far from God or lacks faith.
But what if God is searching for the one who uses their blurry season productively… the one who fights through the struggle and still is effective for the Kingdom… the one who doesn’t see everything clearly, but still impacts the world. What if that person is me? What if that person is you? What if my journey is God designed and ordained? His method of healing me is intentional. Maybe, just maybe, He is using me to grow my faith and yours. Maybe He wants us to see that I do not allow cancer to stop me even though my full healing has not come to fruition. My greatest impact may be what happens and what I do during the dash in between my cancer diagnosis date and my cancer remission date.
I am facing some extreme, adverse circumstances that have blurred my vision. Stage 4 cancer appears as vast as some redwood trees.
Today, I was told that I am bigger than cancer and a tumor. And although redwoods are some of the biggest and tallest trees in the world, my God is bigger and able to sustain and advance me during my blurry season.
In the meantime, I will keep moving and wait for His second touch. I hope you do too.
… and because God is the greatest power, we shall NEVER be defeated…