by Christopher Bennett
I find the time that I connect with God most is between the plans that I, myself have made for the day. There is probably a lesson to be learned here… but we can save that for another day! Often, when I am doing menial tasks like washing dishes or cleaning, it allows my mind to drift or listen to an audiobook which can open a world of thoughts. I was relistening to a book I love Everybody, Always by Bob Goff, and at one point he discusses the story of Jesus healing the blind man at the pool in Bethesda (Mark 8:22-26).
I confess that I am not as Biblically knowledgeable as many are, but I never let it hold me back from thinking long and hard about scripture. I tell you this because I don’t know that I really remember the fact that Jesus touched the blind man twice to fully restore his sight! I am certain there are numerous theologians and pastors who have discussed why Jesus touched the man twice when we are certain, if He wanted to, it would have only taken the mere thought of the healing for it to happen.
While I won’t discuss the numerous reasons it could be, I will summarize some thoughts that I had. Christ goes on to ask the man what he sees, and an amazing thing happens: he is honest with Jesus about not being able to see quite clearly. Some of us may have said, “You know what? I couldn’t see anything and now I can see something… I am going to count this as a win!” Others among us may have trembled in the presence of God in a body and worried about embarrassing Jesus in front of others and what wrath we may incur. The man at the pool in Bethesda had the courage and faith in Jesus to be open, honest, and vulnerable. Jesus knew the truth already anyway!
The man at the pool in Bethesda had the courage and faith in Jesus to be open, honest, and vulnerable. Jesus knew the truth already anyway!
I will tell you why this immediately made me think of the Recovery Community. “Relapse is a part of recovery” is one of the mantras we have all heard many times. What if in our moment with Jesus by the pool, we falter? What if we come up short and while we have some extra supports, a new sponsor, a couple extra numbers from our new group we joined, we still turn to old habits? I couldn’t help but wonder if this healing was a way to show us, “God does not expect you to get it exactly right every single time. Everything is a process.” If Jesus took two touches to perform this miracle, why do we think that our most recent mistake defines an entire life?
The man was honest with Jesus and knowing all the different possibilities that could happen should he reveal the truth. Jesus could restore him to his original state of blindness, remove him from our very plane of existence, or anything else He desired. The blind man leaned into Jesus and leaned into his faith. On this rare occasion, I find myself relating to Jesus in this story and wishing I were more like the man He healed. I have struggled with so many things, turned to so many false idols, and put my faith in everyone around me EXCEPT Jesus at times. While I believe Christ is perfect and all I need, this story reminded me that not only do I still have so much work to do but that this is okay.
Maybe this is our reminder that it may take a couple of tries to connect with someone, to reconnect, to heal, to love, to reach our goals. To sum up the major theme of Goff’s book, he suggests that the question “Who should we love?” is “Everybody, Always.” But we must make sure we are including ourselves in those we love. That starts by forgiving ourselves and giving ourselves grace to need a second chance. Just like Jesus does for everybody… always.