2 December 2016
The Lord says this:
In a short time, a very short time,
shall not Lebanon become fertile land
and fertile land turn into forest?
The deaf, that day,
will hear the words of a book
and, after shadow and darkness,
the eyes of the blind will see.
But the lowly will rejoice in the Lord even more
and the poorest exult in the Holy One of Israel;
for tyrants shall be no more, and scoffers vanish,
and all be destroyed who are disposed to do evil:
those who gossip to incriminate others,
those who try at the gate to trip the arbitrator
and get the upright man’s case dismissed for groundless reasons.
Therefore the Lord speaks,
the God of the House of Jacob,
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
no more shall his face grow pale,
for he shall see what my hands have done in his midst,
he shall hold my name holy.
They will hallow the Holy One of Jacob,
stand in awe of the God of Israel.
Erring spirits will learn wisdom
and murmurers accept instruction.
As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.
Do you believe that I can do this?
In today’s Gospel reading, we encounter two blind men who cry out to Jesus, asking him to heal them. We see that Jesus doesn’t immediately stop. In fact, Jesus first meets them as he passes by. The two men follow him, crying out as they do, until he enters the house. Only then does Jesus show any sign that he has noticed them. Still, he does not heal them immediately. Rather, he asks them first and foremost if they believe he could heal them, to which they affirm their belief in him. Only then are the two blind men healed.
More often than not, when we ask the question, “Do you believe that I can do this?” it is set in a tone of self-doubt. Well, at least in my case. There have been so many circumstances in my life where I have asked that question of myself, but none more so than when I delivered my son.
When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing that came to my mind was that the pain of childbirth would be too traumatizing for me to bear, and I contemplated having a Caesarian section instead. I wasn’t aware that there were other ways of delivering, and more importantly, I had to re-wire my thinking to believe that my body was designed by God to deliver my baby naturally. I did have a natural birth eventually, after a long labour, but there were many times where I had questioned if I could do this. I found strength in myself that I never knew I had, and through prayers of family and friends, and the support of my husband and the birthing team, I was able to see through my pregnancy till the end.
I don’t quite know where that strength came from, but after having had time to reflect, I am convinced that it was through God’s grace that this was possible. God’s grace was sufficient enough for me (2 Corinthians 12:9). When I was drained from the many hours of labour, God gave me rest and strength to continue. When I doubted, God’s grace manifested in the relentless support of my wonderful doula. When my legs quivered from the contractions, and I couldn’t support myself, God gave me grace through the strong arms of my husband who held me up. At every turn, my faith was put to the test, as though in questioning myself, God was actually questioning my faith.
When Jesus asked the two blind men, “Do you believe I can do it?” he already knew that he could. But for him to work his miracle, he needed the right vessel to make it happen, and this would be a willing and faithful heart. Why did he wait to heal the men? I would like to believe that it was all in good time; that by waiting a little longer, their hearts would be better prepared and more open to receive God’s gift, and in so doing, the miracle of their healing and God’s strength would be made all the more pronounced.
2 Corinthians 12:10 goes on to say: “When I am weak, then I am strong”. I find that overwhelmingly comforting for during my difficult times, not just at birth, God used my difficulties to manifest Himself by giving me enough grace to see me through my trials, so that upon surmounting those trials, I would be able to give God thanks and praise.
As I write this, my little son lies sleeping next to me. God has rewarded and blessed me with the most amazing gift of all, and it was only through His grace that all this was made possible.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer – Lord, through my many trials and tribulations, I have questioned my ability to see things through the end. I pray for the strength, patience and remembrance always that Your grace is sufficient, and it is Your grace that will lead me home.
Thanksgiving – Thank you Lord, for making me strong in your grace when I am weak.