Saturday, January 28, 2012

Seven Months and Four Miracles

Today marks seven months since my last surgery... seven months of wound care, dressings, salves, powders, bandages, tape in places it shouldn't be allowed to go, gauze, cauterizations, and only being allowed to take a full shower twice a week... Seven months of living with an open wound.

It also marks seven months of being free from the pain and sickness of abscesses, being free from the ulcerated, inflamed intestine Dr. Saturday removed. Seven months during which I have gained 15 pounds, because my body can absorb nutrition, because I am no longer constantly nauseated, and because eating does not cause pain anymore.

During my long, slow healing process, I've been thinking about four of the miracles that Jesus performed during His time on earth.

The first is "my" miracle. I truly feel like it was written just for me. Mark 5:25-34 describes a woman "who had had a hemorrhage for 12 years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse" (Would you not agree that there's a parallel or two between her and me?). When she saw Jesus, she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I shall get well." She touched Jesus and "immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction." Jesus told her that her faith had made her well and that she was healed. Mark 5 is like an Oreo, and this miracle is the white frosting filling bookended by the chocolate cookies of another miracle. Before this miracle, an important Jewish man was entreating Jesus to heal his sick daughter. A crowd gathered around Jesus, and that's when the woman touched Jesus' cloak and was healed. In the midst of a crowd, when He was on His was to heal the sick daughter of an important man, Jesus took the time to stop to speak to, care for, and heal a woman of faith. My Savior is never too busy, and I am never too far gone for Him to show His love and His power and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

The second miracle asks "why?" Jesus and His disciples passed by a man born blind, and the disciples asked Him, ""Who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?" Jesus said, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents, but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him."" Jesus proceeded to heal the blind man, who went on to testify to the Pharisees and his family about Jesus (John 9:1-41). Sometimes, God places heavy trials (like being born blind) upon us, not because we did something wrong, or because He enjoys watching us suffer, but because He has a much bigger plan in mind. What an incredible blessing - what an amazing God who can use even our sufferings as a platform to display His glory to the world.

The third miracle is about recognizing the power of God to save.  Luke 5:12-14 paints a picture of a desperate man who had leprosy. "When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." And He stretched out His hand and said, "I am willing; be cleansed."" It's a beautiful picture of our salvation. We come, not just with empty hands, but with unclean, leprous hands. We must fall on our face before a holy God and ask Him to make us clean from our sins, having faith that He is able. And the glorious news is that He IS willing and He IS able to stretch out His hand. He will cleanse all who come to Him in repentance and faith.

The final miracle is about patience. Mark recounts perhaps the most bizarre miracle of Jesus in Mark 8:22-26. Jesus spat in the eyes of a blind man, laid His hands on him, then asked him what he saw. The man said, ""I see men, for I am seeing them like trees, walking about." Then He again laid His hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly." As we see from the other miracles of Jesus, He had the power to heal completely. He didn't even have to touch or be in the presence of the sick person to heal them. So why would He choose to heal this man incompletely at first? It's sort of like the Christian walk. Before we know Christ, we are spiritually blind. Once we know Christ, we have spiritual eyes. We can see the hand of God working in our lives. Yet, we only see a glimpse of His purposes and paths. We may think we know what He is doing, but we may be very mistaken. We see men like trees walking about - we see spiritual things, but incompletely, distorted. One day, however, we will receive our ultimate healing. Jesus will lay His hands on us for a second time, and we will be in His presence. And then, we will see everything clearly.

I realize that I may never be fully physically healed in this life. That my body may never function properly. That I may never have a pain-free day. But I trust that my God has the power to heal me instantly, and that He will do it, if that is what will bring Him the most glory. I trust in a good God, one who has time for me and cares for me. A God who is big enough to use my sufferings to put His glory on display. A God who, when I came in faith, begging for forgiveness, healed my spiritual leprosy and made me His child. And a God who, one day, will heal me completely. And on that day, when I look intently, and begin to see everything clearly, I know that I will not desire to change a single brushstroke of God's work in my life.

Hannah ;)

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