As He went along, He saw a man blind from birth… “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in His life.”… Having said this, He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” He told him, “wash in the pool of Siloam (this word means Sent).” So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. John 9:1, 3, 6-7
I recently put my heart and soul into something for someone. But I came away from the experience feeling unappreciated and hurt. I spent days licking my wounds, wondering why I was so deeply effected by the lack of gratitude. I prayed and prayed about it, trying to hand it over to God to give me some sort of insight. But instead, I felt left in the dark.
In this scripture passage, Jesus easily could have touched the blind man to heal him. Instead, the blind man had to experience some discomfort before his sight was restored.
Like Jesus mixed saliva and dirt together to make a paste for the blind man’s eyes, God mixed hurt and disappointment together to make a paste for mine. I prayed to God to wash my eyes clean, but I too had to experience the discomfort first. For two full days, I walked around with mud on my eyes and on my heart.
It’s only in the past decade that I’ve learned to turn to God for help when I’m struggling with some difficult emotion. Prior to that, I’d turn to friends to hash and rehash things with. Then I’d try to rid myself of the emotion by blaming whomever or whatever caused it. It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize that everything is working towards my own personal growth IF I’m willing to go to God with it, take responsibility for my part, and do the hard job of working through it all.
That mud of disappointment forced me to identify my own personal blindness: I had given with wrong intention. I had given wanting gratitude and praise in return. When I could finally admit my weakness, and take responsibility for it, I couldn’t blame the other person or situation anymore. Finally, I had figured out the real issue that I needed to bring to God. Only then, after working through the discomfort and learning from it, did He wash the mud away. Only then was I miraculously healed of the hurt.
Without a doubt, I can see that “all this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in my life.” Now, with restored sight, I can also see that the next time I give of myself, I need to do so with a pure heart, and with no strings attached.
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