By Arie Reath
“Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, ‘Do you see anything?’ And he looked up and said, ‘I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.’” (Mark 8:23-24)
The leaves are beginning to change early this year. It’s like an early Christmas gift, except I feel they are turning half-heartedly, almost like they aren’t quite sure it’s really the end of summer. I don’t blame them, seasons tend to blur together, especially here in Michigan. The poor trees are confused.
I imagine the man from Mark’s gospel was pretty confused too. For after Jesus laid hands on him, he could see—well, almost. “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” I imagine that for a minute, his faith must have faltered. Jesus laid hands on me, shouldn’t I be healed? That is, completely healed? Was he disappointed? Was he afraid to show Jesus that he was disappointed? Was he grateful, even for the sliver of sight he was granted?
But Jesus finishes what he starts.
“Then again, He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.” (Mark 8:25)
I wondered, why did He heal him twice when He has the power to heal with one touch? I popped over to Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary to see if it could shed some light:
“The cure was wrought gradually, which was not usual in our Lord’s miracles. Christ showed in what method those commonly are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind. At first, their knowledge is confused; but, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then they see all things clearly.”
Many mornings I have prayed for the Lord to “open my eyes” to see the path forward, to know His will. As I pondered this Scripture passage and the commentary above, I began to see how my prayer for the Lord to “open my eyes” has been answered, although not in an instantaneous way like I would have expected. It is an ongoing and gradual process.
Many nights I prayed for community, for lasting friendships, and most importantly, for a way out of this town where I've lived for the last 10 years. It was difficult to watch all my friends graduate and leave, and even more difficult to stay behind and wonder what to do next. I felt completely alone and “community” was a foreign word. What’s a community? Where do I get one? I thought the answer was to move away, to start afresh.
But God had other plans for me.
He closed the “moving away” door for me, multiple times, despite my best efforts to forcefully reopen it.
Fortunately, our God answers prayer. He heard my (sometimes ugly) cry. Through my faith and becoming involved in my parish, I have been able to grow in community with others. In particular, Be Love Revolution and its network of amazing young women has allowed me to see the flourishing community that already exists here. I feel like I'm looking at my life with fresh eyes. God has renewed my strength and my spirit, He has transformed the brokenness and confusion of this season into something beautiful.
Is there something you need to look at with fresh eyes? Is there something you need to let Jesus heal, even if it takes time? Spend some time journaling the answers this week.
Jesus, open my eyes to see the way You are working my life. Help me not to overlook all the wonderful blessings you have given me and to be patient in receiving healing and clarity. For I trust and believe the plans You have for me are for my well-being and to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).