They had heard of this amazing man who could heal.
And so, giving up a day’s wages, they go off in search of him.
Their mates say, “Heck, if this man were God, he could heal you without you going off to find him. God is everywhere.”
But, half-forgetting they cannot see, they are missing no opportunity to “see God.”
They are not missing their great chance, their big break, oh no, and so they go tap-tapping in search of him, buffeted by unfamiliar crowds, asking directions as they go.
They follow the noise, the shouts.
And as these intensify, they shout, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”
And they follow him indoors.
Looking at them, he holds their hands, so they know he is talking to them, and asks,
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Matt 9 27-31
* * *
“Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. Do I believe he can?
He will know if I bullsh*t him.
But I do believe he can, that’s why I have been chasing him all day.”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.
“Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you,” (Matt 9:29).
And their sight was restored.
According to your faith will it be done to you.
* * *
What would have happened if they had not believed?
It’s chilling to think of it. They would have continued begging for the rest of their lives.
They would not have chased Jesus, being buffeted by the crowds They would not have called out to him loudly, risking people’s sneers and laughter at their outrageous, childlike faith. They would not have followed him indoors.
They would not have answered “Yes, Lord,” when he asked them quietly, seriously, “Do you believe that I am able to do this for you?”
They would not have been healed.
* * *
None of us is entirely sole or whole.
But, by virtue of living in a world in which powers of evil prowl, in which they are people who do not hesitate at evil, in which there is some evil in each of us, we are all in need of healing. We all have areas of dis-ease, and dysfunction, whether physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual.
And what do we do with our areas of brokenness and blindness. How do we change?
* * *
I can tell you one way we are guaranteed NOT to change. And that is business as usual.
Continue doing what you have been doing before. Hope you lose weight, write more, read more, wake earlier, become a little bit tidier, and you have basically guaranteed business as usual.
* * *
How do we change then? How can light shine on our dark spots?
Remember that there is a healer. Go to him for healing. Go every day.
* * *
There are two ways healing comes, multiplication and addition. Magic, or Grace-and-sweat.
Instantly, by a sovereign act of grace, people have been delivered of their addictions to alcohol, or cigarettes or chocolate or coffee.
But healing also comes, slowly, step by step, working with Jesus. When we sense the cue to unhealthy behaviour, chocolate when we are stressed for example, we substitute a healthy behaviour: prayer, or a quick walk. (Read The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg on this).
Similarly, poetry can come in a flood, magic, multiplication, or more likely, through mastery of one’s craft, along with a little bit of inspiration (literally, the spirit within you).
* * *
The key question to ask when faced with areas of disease and dysfunction in our lives is this:
Do I believe that Jesus and I together can change this?
* * *
I am battling with changing a lifetime of habits of comfort-eating, and eating what is quick, convenient and tasty rather than what is the greatest blessing to my body. And a lifetime of sedentary habits.
I have lost 13 pounds since I started this adventure. The key question as to whether I will continue losing weight is this:
Do I believe that Jesus and I together are able to do this? Change sloppy eating, and sedentary habits.
If I do believe that change is possible, and I do, I will keep reviewing my simple rules: Eliminate sugar, drastically limit white flour, eat lots of fruit and veggies, go easy on fat. Don’t eat when not hungry. Walk every day.
* * *
Other areas of my life in which I am working for change.
2) Writing, aiming to write 400 words a day on my memoir, in addition to a blog. (This is working!)
3) Reading more, which makes one’s thinking, sensibility and writing style more sophisticated.
Everyone wants to read more, and the key to doing so is to have a plan and believe that you and Jesus together can change your life enough to make space for what you really want to do. My current plan is to increase a page a day until I am reading 45 pages a day. Also, having started at a book a month, I am aiming at reading each book in one day less, (currently at 18 days a book).
4 Waking early. I am currently waking at 6.40 a.m. and love it. Love getting my quiet time done, important email caught up on, newspaper scanned, and blog posted by 10 or 11 a.m.
I am dreaming of 5 a.m. for both spiritual and literary reasons—both writers and great Christians swear by the benefits of waking at 5!
And I believe that Jesus and I together are able to do this.
* * *
So perhaps these are the steps to health and wholeness
1) Admit you have a problem, that you are not living the life you want to.
2) Ask Jesus for help. It may come “magically,” a lifting of the cravings for chocolate and sugar as happened to me. It may come slowly, as in me learning to enjoy long walks.
3) Have a plan, worked out in consultation with Jesus in prayer
4) Believe that Jesus and you together are able to do it.