Mark 8:25 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.
I think this is a very important story, not just for those involved in healing ministry but for everyone who seeks to follow Christ. The point that we need to get is that even for Jesus, not everything happened instantly. He certainly didn’t do anything wrong, but this man wasn’t healed instantly; Jesus had to touch his eyes again. We are so used to everything being instant that we get impatient, and/or we give up. How foolish! Jesus even told a specific parable to teach us that we “should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1) It’s not often the Bible explains to us what it is trying to teach us! This story of Jesus healing the man’s eyes isn’t quite that obvious, but it’s the same message. Things that come too easily are seldom valued, and God wants us to be mature. Psychologists have long used “tolerance for delayed gratification” as a major measure of psychological maturity. When everything happens as soon as we want it to, we don’t gain that maturity. Any parent can testify that patience is required in raising children. As a matter of fact, a major portion of child abuse comes from the lack of maturity in those abusing them. They demand instant adherence to something the “adult” desires, and when that doesn’t happen, the child is punished. There have been children killed for not stopping crying, or for being slow to be potty trained. That is the tragic result of children having children, regardless of the physical age of the parents. Spiritual immaturity can be just about as tragic, with people giving up on themselves or on others in various ways. In general, God wants us to “keep on keeping on,” trusting Him for the final solution. That’s not to say that we aren’t to seek better ways of doing the task at hand. It’s often said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. We do need wisdom from God for every situation, but the point is to keep at the task at hand until God says we’re through with it.
This is something I still deal with constantly, in myself and in others. At almost 72 years old I’ve had quite a lot of run-ins with my own impatience, and it still happens from time to time. As a pastor and teacher I have to deal with the maturity, or lack of it, in others with occasionally distressing frequency. As that happens I am reminded of how I have been in times past, and it helps me be gracious. Sometimes people take themselves out from under my supervision. In such cases I am to keep praying for them, but not necessarily take it as a failure on my part. I am to assure them, if possible, that God hasn’t left them, even if they have turned their back on Him. Speaking the truth in love, I am to invite them to turn around and face Him again, so that He may do in and through them what is best on every level, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. There have been a lot of people over the years who have turned away. I do pray that the seed that has been planted in them wouldn’t die out, but would produce the fruit that they need and You deserve, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!