I’m a card-carrying member of the IPA… Impatient People Anonymous. As a member of the microwave generation, I’ve repeatedly asked God for help… “Lord give me patience and give it to me now!”
How about you?
I like the story of Blind Bartimaeus. Jesus healed him instantly. Bartimaeus didn’t sit for hours in the Doctor’s the waiting room. “Immediately he could see” (Mark 10: 52).
Jesus was passing through Jericho enroute to Calvary when a man by the road interrupted the Master’s entourage. The blind beggar bellowed, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). When Jesus invited him to come near, Bartimaeus “threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:50). Jesus welcomed the man’s impassioned appeal. He invited the blind man to ask, seek, and knock. “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51). There was just one request. He didn’t ask for wealth, or for long life, or for world peace. He begged for a single thing. “I want to see” (Mark 10:51).
Jesus didn’t dilly-dally, dawdle, or delay. He didn’t put it on the agenda for next month’s meeting… Jesus healed Bartimaeus instantly. “Immediately he could see” (Mark 10:52).
Sometimes God answers our request instantly. But sometimes God delays. The story of another blind man illustrates my point.
Like Bartimaeus, a blind man in the village of Bethsaida begged Jesus for healing. I’m sure that their requests were equally fervent. “Please Lord, I beg you! Touch my eyes and restore my sight! Please! Please!”
But, in the Bethsaida story, Jesus didn’t heal the blind man instantly. Jesus “took the blind man by the hand and brought him out of the village” (Mark 8:23). In order to be healed, the blind man needed to obediently follow the Master. “If you want to be healed, you must come with me.”
Away from the hustle and bustle, Jesus did something else… odd. Unique. Weird. I can’t explain it, but I believe it. “Spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on him” (Mark 8:23) and then he asked, “What can you read on the eye chart? Can you see the big ‘E’ ?” “I see people—they look like trees walking” (Mark 8:24). He had some vision, but it was poor. Jesus didn’t heal the man completely, but only partially.
The healing wasn’t immediate but came eventually, when “Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes” (Mark 8:25). Finally, after waiting a bit, his vision was “restored and he saw everything clearly” (Mark 8:25).
Sometimes God heals immediately and sometimes God chooses to heal eventually. And, at still other times, God says “no.” When the Apostle Paul prayed, and prayed, and prayed, God refused to remove the unspecified “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7), but said, “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Our fallen flesh has an expiration date. Unless Jesus raptures His bride, we’re all going to die. While we remain on earth, we’ll endure physical infirmities. Bartimaeus teaches us that God can, and sometimes does, heal instantly. The blind man at Bethsaida teaches us that sometimes Jesus heals eventually. And Paul illustrates God’s providential plan to heal ultimately.
Are you facing a physical challenge. Pray. Pray patiently and persistently. And pray faithfully, knowing that our Gracious Father always knows best. Grace!