Saturday, May 21, 2011

Steps of Healing

And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he looked up and said, "I see men, but they look like trees, walking." Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."
Mar 8:22-26 ESV  (emphasis mine)

Why didn’t Jesus heal him in the city? Why didn’t He heal him when He took his hand? Why did He lead him away? Why did He spit on him? Why? Why?

Jesus sometimes took steps in His healing jobs. He first –lead him, then –spit, then –touched him again. Each of them involved faith, just different levels.

Allowing Him to lead you is sometimes the easiest part. Physically realizing He is calling you is the first step. You have to leave that place you were called out of, whether it be meaning a spiritual state or physical. And everything God does can have many levels to its meaning. Bethsaida was condemned (Matt. 11:21), “but He would still show mercy to individuals.” (Scofield Reference Notes) In leaving the city, “He … was telling [Bethsaida], in effect, she was unworthy to have any more done within her walls.” (Matthew Henry) But also it was an act of faith for the man. He had to let Christ lead him. He’d probably let others lead him around his whole life—but he probably didn’t have any idea who this Man was but what his friends told him. But, oh, the questions that must have run through his mind!

They must have been similar to the ones in my mind today.

Then, Christ SPAT on him! Now, I don’t really think He leaned over and went *phtew* in his face, but still. He put warm saliva on the man’s eyes, however He did it. The natural response would be to recoil and remove such a thing from one’s face. But Jesus put it on there…

Sometimes you have to endure odd things… But not trying to rub off the oddities of life is one of the hardest things for me… Little elements in my life have sent me reeling, but God put them there…

And, only after touching him again did Jesus actually allow the man to totally see. He asked him if he could see, but the man only saw figures and shapes. We often can’t see the crisp lines. It’s not ‘til He’s done does He usually show us the masterpiece! No painter likes to endure criticism of a work-in-progress. “It’s not finished yet!”

“You’re not finished yet. Stop trying to leave my hands. Let me take you away. Let me change you. Let me. Let go, let me.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

1 Year…

I’ve had 1 year.

1 year of turning on the hot water heater 20 minutes before shower-down.

1 year of people staring at me where ever I go.

1 year of reminding people, “I just woke up. I haven’t done anything yet today.”

1 year of missing America—sort of.

1 year of getting to know my awesome fellow missionaries and their families.

1 year of living in my favorite place in the world right now.

Yeah, I’ve missed you all in America. Yeah, there’s been difficulties. But nothing, nothing dims the light of knowing you’re where you’re supposed to be. I have felt for the past 2 years I belonged in Uganda. But I never, never guessed I could love it as much. The people, the atmosphere, the weather—all of them added to the feeling of belonging, I can’t say I’d rather be anywhere else.

(But I’m really looking forward to seeing ya’ll in America in a couple months!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dry Milkcans…

As a baby craves milk to grow, so you will crave spiritual milk. 

You can tell when I’m experiencing a dry milkcan. I haven’t blogged for reals in a while. But the reason is, I’ve got a lot of sorting to do. I guess, there’s not really much times when you don’t have to sort through emotions, but now’s a biggy for that for me.

With friends getting ready to leave, people changing and me thinking about the furlough we’re intending to spend in a couple months, I can’t help but take tomorrow’s worries into today’s preverbal hands. “Don’t worry about your life,” keeps echoing in my ears, but letting go is not an easy thing to do.

I have questions. Who am I supposed to be? Where are we exactly supposed to be going? What exactly am I supposed to be doing!? But they seem to still be unanswered. To stay dry and tasteless. I’m hungry, but maybe I’m looking in the wrong cupboard. This one seems to not have anything in it. It’s as if the milk I let set out too long—it’s gone! I can’t seem to feel full any more. I don’t think my worries help any of this.

I know God has a plan, but what is it!? All too often I demand that. Faith is trust without worry. Faith is believing in the unseen, is stepping out trusting that step is there, is not worrying about the one beyond this. And faith is a hard thing. God’s plan is an unrolling scroll, to determine the destinies of all. But we only find this out through revelation. Without trying to find the full milkcans, we can’t be trying to find out God’s will. It’s like wanting to stay up late, but not wanting to reach age 10. It just doesn’t work.

Dry milkcans don’t nourish. They don’t fulfill. They don’t help you grow. They do make it hard to find the full ones. They clutter the room. I just need to empty my heart of the empty ones… living in the past and future doesn’t work when you’re only given the present. Only the time passing now are we given, so I better find those full milkcans.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More than a Prince

Jonathan, son of Saul, son of Kish

         "Nothing can hinder God from saving, whether by many or by few." Jonathan truly believed what he had told his armor-bearer in the moments before his personal attack on the Philistines one night. He had fought them before, at Gibeah, and trusted he was going to fight them another day. His bravest action and most prevalent show of faith was given that night-- he and his armor-bearer alone attacked the Philistine outpost and killed twenty men. Under normal circumstances, that wouldn't have defeated the whole army, but God sent the enemies of His people into confusion and gave the Israelites the victory. He later knew God was giving Israel a new gift-- David-- and told him so. Being a bold and brave man, he was not afraid to give himself to do what he believed was God's will.

           But sometimes that willingness and resolve got him into trouble. Being away the night of the battle (as he fought his own little one over a canyon not far off), he didn't hear his father's oath to kill anyone who ate anything until they had finished their work. He took, and he ate some honey from the forest. After the fact, one of his men told him what he had done, and his father vowed to kill him. But, through the love of his men, he escaped the punishment designated by the king. He also chose to side with David, even when his father was given to trying to kill him. His close relationship with his father was obviously shorn through his choices. Eventually, he died fighting alongside his demon-possessed father on the Mount Gilboa. His boldness and self-will had kept him out of trouble when he agreed with what was right, but that same will had led him to sin in the forest and to face the consequences.

           For the later part of his life, his best friend was on the run from his father. He had given his best  in trying to dissuade King Saul from murdering God's anointed. He had given David his advice to run into hiding-- but not before a tearful parting. His sister had aided in deceiving their father, but he had done his part in securing David's safety until he could leave the city. One of David's hardest times were brightened by the appearance of this one man. He once visited David when he was in hiding in Horesh. During this visit, Jonathan gave encouragement David in as many ways as he knew how. After reminding him of God's promises, he had also reminded him of his own respect and love for him through admitting David was going to rule over him without any apparent hint of jealousy or resentment.

           Jonathan fulfilled his name, meaning gift of God, in so many ways. He was a gift as a warrior to Israel. He was a gift to his father in keeping him from killing David during Saul's early fits of rage. He was a gift to David in his warnings and encouraging speeches. But most of all, he is a gift to us today. His example of boldly doing God's work, and his warning of always heeding God's word live on to serve us today. He was more than a prince, he was one of God's many gifts to mankind.