22) They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. 23) He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” 24) And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25) Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8: 22-25 NRSV)
This is one of the most interesting healing stories in the Bible as I see it. On one hand, it is interesting because Jesus touches a blind man who is given sight, but can still not see clearly. It is the only miracle story where there is a healing that takes two touches. For theologians, Biblical scholars, or those of us who think critically, this raises all kinds of interesting theological questions. Why didn’t the first touch heal the blind man completely? Does this tell us something about the limits of Jesus? How can an all powerful Jesus touch someone, and they not be able to see well? These kinds of questions have been and will be debated for centuries.
However, not only does the intellectual side of me find this story interesting, the experiential side of me that lives in a real world everyday Loves this story. Imagine all that must have been going on with this man in the moment where he has been touched by Jesus, but he is not completely healed. Sight has been improved, but it has not been fully restored. Sight has progressed, but it has not been perfected. Maybe this man was joyful for the ability to see anything. Maybe he was frustrated that after all this time of waiting and wanting to see, he can now see, but he cannot see clearly.
Here, is where this story hits me the hardest. I believe much of our lives exist somewhere between these two touches. Many of us know what it is to have real encounters with God, and just as many of us know what it is for our lives to still not be perfected. So many issues in our lives, habits of our lives, and situations throughout our lives are somewhere between these two touches. Somewhere between “not what it used to be” and “not what we want it to be.” This blind man has experienced the healing power of Jesus, and yet this blind man is not completely healed. Today, we may be able to confess that God has touched us, healed us, spoken to us, and/or kept us. Nevertheless we still struggle, things are still not clear, all is still not well and life is still not complete.
This blind man serves as a lesson to all of us who may be “stuck in the middle” of two touches today. Jesus only asks him, “Can you see anything?” The man could have said “yes” and been satisfied with his current state. Yet, he clearly was not satisfied. He was not content to simply be better when there was more to be fulfilled. So he takes the initiative to tell Jesus something that Jesus does not even ask. “And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” This initiative moves Jesus to touch him again. His initiative allows him to leave with fully recovered sight.
Beloved, I don’t know where you are or what you are going through but I guarantee you don’t have to look far to find some aspect of your life that is stuck in the middle of two touches. I hope you are encouraged today not to be satisfied. If the vision is not clear, the dream is not fulfilled, the expectation is not met, or you are not completely healed, then please don’t be satisfied. Take the initiative to keep fighting, keep working, keep striving, keep pressing, and keep praying and telling God exactly where you are and what you need. Make the move, take the step and live with initiative. The second touch may be on the way.
Humbly in Christ’s Love,