The Unexpected Methods of God’s Greatness

There are times in this life where God is working and doing a great thing for us and we just don’t see it.  Because we trust our senses, judgment, and wisdom, we tend to forget that God works in ways that we don’t expect.  There is a vast difference between the methods employed by God and those of man to do good in this world.  His ways are higher than our ways, we are told, lean not on our own understanding.

We tend to understand this as a concept, but when things look really bad from our perspective, we can lose sight of this truth.  It is so easy to forget that God works for the good of those who love Him in even the darkest circumstances.  He even used spit in someone’s eyes in performing a wonderful miracle recorded in John 9.

Have you ever had someone spit in your face?  If you are a parent, the answer is most certainly yes.  Once the little ones learn to do raspberries they like to share them with others liberally and at unexpected times.  It can be quite dangerous.  But babies aside, have you ever had someone put their saliva on your face?  Even if it is by mistake, it is disgusting, revolting and unsanitary, right?  If it is intentional, it is so much worse.  It is such a personal expression of great contempt and derision.  No one wants someone else’s spit on their face and no one would voluntarily want another person to spit in their eyes.  Very bad and very gross, we can all agree upon that.

Yet when Jesus heals a man born blind in John 9, He uses his spit to do a great miracle.  In order to free him from a lifetime of darkness, He mixes his saliva with clay to make mud.  Jesus then takes that mud and places it on the man’s eyes.

If we have read the whole account, we know that Jesus does this to heal and restore the man.  He gives sight to one that has never seen in this life.  He then uses that man to testify to others about Jesus’ greatness.  It is just what Jesus does, He takes the broken and those trapped in a lifetime of darkness and gives them freedom and sight.  It is an awesome passage.

But don’t jump ahead in the account just yet.

Think about the moment when Jesus put the wet mud on the man’s sightless eyes.  What is the guy thinking at that point?  From context, we know that he doesn’t know Jesus.  He is not a disciple and may have never heard of His miracles.  He knows that he has been blind since birth.  He likely believes there is nothing that anyone can do to change that for him.  He has lived into at least adulthood in darkness.  There were no surgical teams working on amazing cures for blindness in that day.  It was a completely hopeless situation.   All reasonable people would agree.

Until he has some guy putting mud on his eyes.  Does he think that getting mud put on his face is a good thing or a bad thing?

Does he know how the dirt got wet?  If he does know that it is spit and dirt mixed together, what does he think?  What would we think if someone put their spit in a dirtball and rubbed it on our eyes?

Disgusting and gross would be the normal response.  Pointless and revolting may have been the man’s response based upon his reasonable understanding of the situation.  How can this possibly help a blind man regain his sight? All reasonable people would agree this is a bad thing, perhaps even cruel.  Who in the world would go around putting spit mud in the eyes of blind beggars?

Thankfully, Jesus is never bound by our small expectations.  He is never bound by our limited understanding.  He does His awesome works in this life through His methods regardless of our feelings on them.  It is His work after all, does he require our approval of His methods?

In our walks with Jesus, there are going to be times when we are put in the position of the blind man just after meeting Jesus.  We are going to feel like we have no hope and are trapped by circumstance.  We are going to believe that nothing can be done to fix all the bad in our lives.  It is just too dark and too far gone.  All reasonable people will agree with us that we are stuck.  Even our church friends may have lost hope.

At that point, may God begin an amazing work in our lives in a way that challenges our expectations.  To save us, He does something like mixing clay with spit and rubbing it on our eyes.  Something that we don’t realize is really great for us if we just trust in God and look past what seems like a strange method.

In our lives, it may be something like ending a relationship that we really wanted to work out.  It may be losing a job that provided what we thought was security.  Losing a boyfriend or job hurt a lot when it happens.  If we continue trusting God through it, though, we can wait and have our eyes opened to the beautiful work that God is doing through the pain.  That job may have been enslaving us and that relationship would have lead to spiritual ruin.

The constant question for us is when faced with God working in a way that challenges our plans, whose sight are we going to trust?  Whose plan and expectations do we think are better?  Will we live by our extremely limited viewpoint and roadmap for this life of God’s omniscient, perfect plan?

Walk by faith and not by sight says the Lord.  Are we willing to do this when God does not follow along with our expectations?

The man born blind is noted as saying nothing while Jesus is actually healing him.  He just follows Jesus’ directions and waits and sees what happens as a result.  He then tells everyone of the greatness that comes when we encounter the One True God.  Even if it did involve spit, the man was filled with joy over what the Lord had done.  We can share in this joy if we trust in Jesus and His character and leave it to Him to worry about the methods.

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