Monday, June 16, 2008

A Second Touch

There are many wonderful stories of miraculous healing by our Lord in the gospels. You will be hard put, however, to find a single pattern and certainly no “formula” by which to predict who, how or when Jesus would intervene in the lives of the leprous, lame, or blind. Sometimes He heals long-distance with a spoken word (Matthew 8:5-13), at other times He lays hands on the afflicted (Matthew 8:2-3), and on occasion the afflicted simply touches Him in an abandoned reach of faith (Mark 5:25-29).

In no way does this suggest that God’s grace is arbitrary or random. Rather I believe He is careful to demonstrate the uniqueness and intimacy of each encounter. The focus remains on the relationship rather than the methodology. He will not be placed in a box.

On at least one occasion, Jesus accomplishes a miraculous healing in stages (Mark 8:22-25). In this instance His disciples bring to Him a blind man, imploring Him to restore his sight. With a combination of sanctified saliva and a touch of His hands the man opens his eyes to what appears to him as men “like trees walking around.” It takes a second touch by the Great Physician before he “began to see everything clearly.”

What is going on here? Does the need for a second touch somehow indicate a “brown out” in the divine power supply? Although we are not told specifically, the context of Mark’s gospel suggests that Jesus was providing His disciples a living lesson in how repeated surrender to His activity in the lives of men over time will yield 20/20 spiritual insight.

It is also possible that Jesus is demonstrating here that the benefit of his grace is to extend beyond the immediate recipient. Note that the blind man's new-found vision first provides progressive clarity in his perception of others rather than his own reflection. Jesus' every action reflects a divine purpose (John 5:19-20).

In this journey of faith I have had every confidence that on any given day the Lord could heal me instantly and completely. He has chosen not to heal me in this way. I am trusting Him no less for full restoration, gladly surrendered to His lovingkindness, however He chooses to demonstrate His power and love. I am also fully aware that there is a battle to be fought. My role is neither passive nor presumptive.

The time has come for me to enter the second round of Interleukin-2 therapy. I will be admitted today for placement of a central venous catheter followed by a series of high-dose Interleukin-2 infusions up to every eight hours over the next week until I can tolerate no more. The anticipated side effects include shaking chills, muscle aches, diffuse swelling, possible wet lungs and shortness of breath, generalized rash and itching, low blood pressure and even kidney impairment.

I conclude once more, God is in charge, not I. And He is good! He is ultimately more concerned about my character than my comfort (as Job learned, Job 42:5). He uses pain to foster a higher potential for personal purity (1Peter 4:1). He values longsuffering over longevity.

With eternity in better focus, I have begun to see things (and men) as never before.

Anticipating His grace and a second touch,

PS – Linda has been a tower of strength through all of this. Please pray for her as she spends endless hours at my bedside during the day, then camps out by herself at a nearby RV park each evening.


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  2. Dan,
    Thanks for sharing spiritual insight while fighting what is probably the most difficult physical battle you have ever faced. Continuing prayers for you and Linda.

  3. My goodness, posted at 4:40 a.m. - thank you so much for being thoughtful of those who are eager for word of your progress. As you describe the series of treatments you face once again, it is clear that it will not be an easy time, but you, and we, know that God will be in control and very near. We will increase our prayers for you this week, and also for Linda who has an equally challenging time ahead of her. It is so hard to see our loved ones suffer. Please be assured that you both will be lifted up to the Almighty often in the days and week ahead.