Jesus Is Enough

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'” – John 9:1-3

There are people I know who would have been right there with the disciples asking this question. Maybe I would have been one of them. I see how they look at me, pitying me, wishing I would just do the one thing they believe I’m not doing that would make me well. And if I really think hard enough, I understand. I think these things about myself. What am I not learning fast enough? What am I doing to block God’s healing of my body? Why is this taking so long? Surely God would heal me if I was doing this one extra thing. What am I doing wrong? Oh, my friends. These are lies. Jesus wants to use our suffering for God’s glory. He wants to give us more of Him.

“‘How then were your eyes opened?’ they demanded. ‘He replied, ‘The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.'” – John 9:10-11

I am doing everything I know to do and becoming more comfortable by the day with waiting on God. Grace is my favorite word these days. If I could get a tattoo, that’s what it would say. Grace. Maybe if we plastered it on our foreheads we’d remember it better. I’m thankful that only God knows how to heal me and I’ve quit worrying about it so much. I’d rather experience a miracle than work myself and our bank account to the bone trying to heal myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up. On the contrary. I’m just giving up more of my striving and expecting God’s healing in whatever form it comes. I’m only doing the things for my health that He’s leading me to do. I’m not grasping at every straw anymore. And the peace I am experiencing is allowing me to exhale more fully.

“‘We know he is our son,’ the parents answered, ‘and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.’ His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue.” – John 9:20-22

This man’s parents didn’t even stand up for him. They basically threw him under the bus because they were afraid of being put out of the synagogue, which was pretty much excommunication. The people who were supposed to protect him most did not do so. How that must have hurt. It’s painful when those we love don’t stand by us. I’ve had to distance myself from the people who can’t understand why I’m still suffering, if they haven’t already distanced themselves. It’s a terrible loss when those you love have such a poor theology of suffering that they can’t stand to watch it and walk away, or perhaps worse, blame the sufferer.

“A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. ‘Give glory to God,’ they said. ‘We know this man is a sinner.’ He replied, ‘Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!'” – John 9:24-25

But in spite of the losses, the doubts, and the continued lack of health, I am seeing a deeper healing. One thing I know. I was blind but now I see! And the view from here is breathtaking.

“Then they asked him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He answered, ‘I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?'” – John 9:27

How I relate to this man! Mr. Sassy Shorts here has had enough! I love it. I have quite a bit of sass as well… it has been mentioned. He’s just trying to celebrate his miracle and the pharisees keep bugging him. Let the man enjoy his sight, for crying out loud!

“To this they replied, ‘You were steeped in sin at birth, how dare you lecture us!’ And they threw him out.” – John 9:34

So they threw him out. Excommunicated for receiving a miracle and believing the One who delivered.

“Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’… Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him.” – John 9:35, 38

Jesus came to this rejected, unprotected, isolated man who had just lost his entire community. Jesus not only healed his body, but stayed around to heal his spirit as well. Isn’t that dear? Jesus is so loving. This man who had just lost everything while gaining his sight believed Jesus and worshiped.

Jesus was enough for this man. Jesus was his defender, saying that sin did not cause his blindness. Jesus was his healer in more ways than one. He opened his eyes to the physical world and the spiritual one. He opened his eyes to Jesus. Jesus became everything to him. He had nothing but Jesus, and that was enough.

I am learning to embrace Jesus as my defender. When the old voices of perfectionism return to tell me I must not be doing enough to be healed, or the looks and off-hand comments from others cut deep, I know and speak the truth to myself that my sin is covered by the blood of Jesus. Jesus is already my healer, though I am not yet healthy. He has opened my eyes to Himself. He is becoming everything to me. I have lost so much and many people who were dear to me, but I have gained more Jesus. And He is more than enough.

If your world is crumbing down, how my heart aches for you. I know this question is difficult. Is Jesus enough for you? My prayers are with you.

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What You Don’t See

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

What you see is a smiling woman appearing confident and healthy. What you don’t see is the pale face with wide, panicked eyes, horrified at the idea of leaving the house the night before. What you see is eyes sparkling in the sun of a brighter day. What you don’t see are tears dripping onto the cold, dirty basement floor because that’s where she happened to collapse.

What you see is the going out and the doing. What you don’t see is the disappointment and grief with each failed attempt and each gathering missed. What you see is the poker face. What you may not see is the grip on her husband’s hand or how many hours the panic shaking lasted afterwards.

What you see is a woman strong in the Holy Spirit, speaking in front of people. What you don’t see is the panic attack days later refusing to allow her out the door. What you hear is a confident word from the Lord. What you don’t hear are the voices straight from the evil one convincing her that she’s a fraud.

What you see is sunshine. What you don’t see are the dark fingers of fear picking at old beliefs, “You shouldn’t go out in public. You’re a hypocrite. You let fear win. You’re alone. You don’t deserve to be comforted. You’re getting worse, not better. You’ll never be free.” What you see is a woman learning to love herself and, most days, succeeding in at least offering herself grace. What you don’t see are the downward spirals into the pit again, though fewer and farther between, thanks be to God. What you see is a walking, standing, worshiping woman. What you don’t see is a hyperventilating, panicking child, crumpled in the fetal position on the floor.

What I see is darkness, the only light highlighting every imperfection. What I don’t see is the veil Satan has tossed over my eyes. What I feel is the white-hot sear of panic rising in my chest. What I don’t feel, because for a time I don’t believe I deserve it, is a hand of comfort. What I vaguely remember is that this has an end, even if I don’t believe at the time. What I don’t see is the hand of God on my shoulder, pulling me back toward the light with that reminder. What I know in the distant recesses of my mind is that the lies from the evil one are not true. What I don’t know at the time is the Holy Spirit prodding my mind to remember that. What I want is to be a strong, confident woman who no longer struggles with anxiety. What I don’t want is to worship. What I know is that God fights for me when I worship. What I don’t fully understand is how strong He is in my weakness.

“As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” – 2 Chronicles 20:22

What I do is crawl to my feet in the strength God provides and eek out a song through ragged breath. What I don’t do is rescue myself. What I hear is the ugliest tear-drenched song, if I can even call it that. What I don’t hear are angels joining in, making the song more beautiful than I could dream. What I see is the blurred image of the laundry room as the whispered song continues. What I don’t see are the heavenly armies mobilizing. What I manage to push out my mouth is truth combating lies, “I am able in Christ. I am not a fraud. God is my comforter. I am worthy. I am not alone.” What I don’t see is the Holy Spirit welling up in me, giving me the strength to say those things. What I hear is my voice thanking God that, at the name of Jesus, evil must flee. What I don’t hear is the clash of swords in the spiritual realm. What I see are my exhausted hands halfheartedly lifted in a small measure of praise. What I don’t see is God fighting for me while I worship.

What I finally believe is the truth that I am worthy of comfort. What I don’t see, but feel, is God comforting me. What I know is my strength and peace is returning. What I know is it’s actually God’s strength and peace filling me. What I see is a tiny ray of light. What I don’t see is God’s hand cradling me. What I know is I need help so I reach out. What I don’t hear are their prayers rising to a powerful God. What I know is that prayers, praise, and worship are being lifted. What I don’t see is heaven mobilized to fight for me, to rescue me, to give me strength for this moment and hope for the next.

What we see is far less real and important than what we don’t see.

“‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:16-17

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