Until trees become men.

Mark 8:22-26

“I see men but they look like trees walking.” v. 24042

Whenever the Lord does a miracle in your life, he has more in mind than you may imagine. Most us come to the Lord for help in the same way we go to the doctor or the auto mechanic. Something is broken, and he is able to fix it, so we go to him to get fixed, so we can get back to life as normal. If our great mechanic doesn’t perform quickly and efficiently we plan to go elsewhere for the fix. When he does what we ask, we want him to leave us alone and let us get back to life as usual. This, I believe, is the reason we see so few miracles in our lives. We don’t want any more from God than is required to maintain our normal existence. We don’t want a God, we want a genie. But the Nazarene is no genie. He is always working in our lives for something greater than our convenience. He is fitting us to live out the reality of the invisible kingdom here on earth and ultimately in heaven.

Take the story of the blind man for example. Here is a man in need of a touch from the Lord. Simple enough. Jesus has been touching the blind almost daily, and restoring sight. This should be a quick fix. But something strange happens. Jesus spits on the man’s eyes, and asks, “Do you see anything?” The man responds, “I see men, but they look like trees walking.” So Jesus lays hands on his eyes again, and the second time his sight is restored. What! Is there a problem here? Is Jesus power going on the blink? How inefficient! Why didn’t it work the first time? If this miracle had happened in our day, the blind man, after the first touch, would have threatened to sue for malpractice. There would have been criticism from every quarter. Can you imagine the posts on Facebook and Twitter? “watch this video of Jesus trying to heal a blind man. He can only see tree people! Jesus ministry is over now!” Fortunately, the man didn’t storm off, he simply waited for the second touch. But this begs the question, why was a second touch needed?

It’s clear from all the other miracles Jesus performed that this was  no power crisis. There was no problem with Jesus. As far as we know there was nothing unique about the man. So it wouldn’t be fair to blame his faith or lack thereof. So what was it? Isn’t it interesting how we tend to cast blame at times like these? When we don’t get instant results from prayer, we want to know who’s at fault. Either we assume there’s a problem with God, or a problem with us, when it just may be that there is no problem at all. What if the Lord was stretching the man’s faith, and ours too? What if the “Men as trees” was simply Jesus inviting the man to keep believing and see it through? What if Jesus chooses, at times, to heal gradually in order to teach us how to keep praying, and pressing in by faith. As said earlier, Jesus is not here just to fix us, but to change us from the inside out. I’ve seen this over and over in praying for the sick. Sometimes healing is instant. The migraine stops, the fever breaks, movement in the ankle is restored or the Cancer is just not there anymore. At other times I’ve seen healing come little by little. But during the process of praying, seeing partial healing, then praying again, seeing  a little more, and so on until recovery comes, I have seen faith being perfected in me and in the person in need. It’s actually awesome to behold.

Friend, I think you and I have missed many miracles in our lives, simply because we stopped too soon. We pray like customers rather than children of our father. It’s no wonder we see nothing of God. It’s not God’s job to heal the sick. It’s his gracious pleasure. But we have to come by faith, and keep coming to him. We have to want more from God than a recovery, we have to come wanting God to change our hearts as well as our circumstances. He is not our genie. He is our Lord and master. Have you been asking for a miracle? Keep asking. Keep believing. But also keep surrendering to the master in the process. He knows what is best for you, and wants more for you than a fix. He wants you whole from the inside out. So if you feel you are praying to the ceiling because things haven’t changed, take heart. God is at work in you, to bring about his glory and your good. But will you stay with him until the trees become men?

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