Ways of Seeing Meditations: 12. Need for Adjustment
Mk 8:24 “He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Incomplete Vision? The story of Jesus healing this blind man is a strange one and you can’t help by wonder why Jesus did it like this – in two stages. “They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spat on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’ 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.” (Mk 8:22-25) But why did he spit on the man’s eyes? Was he cleaning them? Why did he put his hands on the man? Was this what we would call ‘laying on of hands’ that involved prayer? He asks the man if he sees anything. That’s unusual because normally when he healed blind people they just saw straight away but here it is initially only a partial healing. The man sees indistinctly and it is only when Jesus puts his hands on the man’s eyes that he sees clearly.
I cannot but help wonder if this is for our benefit to say, “if you pray for healing and it only partially comes, keep on praying.” I am sure there is something of that in it. But in these days, as I have been suggesting that God wants us to see with new eyes the world around us and our part in it, I also wonder if there is a challenge here. I am sure most Christians would say they see clearly, they understand something at least of the Gospel and so on.
Our Partial Seeing? Yes, but that’s the point, we see ‘something’ but I wonder if that is only a very limited something. I said just now that God wants us to see with new eyes the world around us and our part in it, but if I am honest, and I do not mean to upset anyone, I believe most Christians get taken up with the day, taken up with surviving in the 2020 Pandemic, taken up with government officials, doctors and scientists who are all uncertain but trying to sound knowledgeable, and the result is, I believe, there are still many Christians who are casualties of this time. How can we gain a greater assurance of who we are and how we can cope? Here are some suggestions.
Looking Back: Isaiah cried, “To the teaching and to the testimony,” (Isa 8:20) John spoke about how the saints at the end overcame the enemy, “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” (Rev 12:11) Holding on to the Bible’s teaching, holding on to the fact that we are saved by the blood of the Lamb who died on the Cross AND holding on to the testimony of what God has already done for us, how He has kept us and provided for us and protected us – so far. But how many believers can recount the basics of the Gospel and, even more, how many can look back and tell of specific ways God has guided them, provided for them, and so on? We can say ‘something’ perhaps, but is our vision as we look back clear?
The Present: Again the question arises, are we aware of who we are and the resources that we have today?
The apostle Paul for the Ephesian saints that, “you may know … what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” (Eph 1:18,19). See the words: ‘glorious inheritance’ (to be received now), and ‘immeasurable greatness of his power’ for us. Forgiveness, cleansing, sonship, power, authority. How many of us can personalize Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “God is able to bless me abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that I need, I will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor 9:8 personalized). How many of us see this clearly and rejoice in our lives today?
The Future: But Paul also wrote about his prayers, “you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” (Eph 1:18) Hope is about the future and the future starts now and so it includes the rest of our lives here on earth as well as our eternal destiny. I know we covered these things in an earlier study but I am simply using them now to ask how clear our vision is. Have we taken on board these truths, are we at peace about tomorrow, are we confident that He is there for us at all times, however uncertain they may be, providing for us, protecting us, being all we need?
And So? Are these things, things we only vaguely see? Do we need to ask the Lord to touch our eyes again, so to speak, so that we may see them with such clarity that we will be anchored firm and steady in the Rock, our Refuge, our Lord, regardless of what today or tomorrow brings? Again the apostle Paul’s teaching on warfare was that, “so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand,” (Eph 6:13) We are in evil days, evil as far as the Pandemic is concerned, evil in respect of the world’s godless thinking that leads so many further and further stray. Our belief system as seen through the Bible, is our ‘ground’. I imagine it as a plot of land over which Satan has no say. He may scream over the fence but we are to ignore his lies. Hold the truth, get it clear in your mind, get your vision utterly cleared, about the past, the present and the future, and rejoice and rule.