I’ve said many times that in the beginning of our recovery journey I was looking for the cure. I didn’t care about meetings, or accountability, or groups. All I wanted was to find the magic bullet that would end the pain, return everything to what I thought was normal, and allow me to act as if none of the awful things that my husband had done had ever happened.
During this time I heard from many people that recovery was a process. I hated hearing that. I was looking for instant healing. What I learned is that God uses the process to both refine us and reveal his glory to us and to others. I learned that when you submit to the process, as difficult as that may be, you make room for God to move in your experience.
In the beginning I fought against the process. If that’s where you are now this passage in John 9 may be helpful to you. I know it was for me.
John 9 1-11 reads: 1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3″Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7″Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. 8His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”9Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”10″How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded.11He 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.”
In this passage there is a man who is blind, living in darkness, who has been reduced to begging in the streets in order to get by. His condition was keeping him from fully experiencing life. That is until Jesus showed up on the scene. There is record of one miracle after another taking place in the gospels. Most of the time they are healing miracles and most of those occur instantly as Jesus commands it. When Jesus demonstrates his miraculous power the dead are raised, the multitudes are fed, the seas are calmed, demons are cast out, and the sick are healed. Instantly. And all it takes is the touch of his hand or the sound of his voice.
This passage is different. Jesus doesn’t instantly heal the blind man – and obviously he could have. Instead he makes a paste of mud and spit and places it over his eyes. Then he tells him to go wash in a pool and He (Jesus) exits the story. Why did Jesus go through this when he could have instantly healed him? Part of me thinks the He wanted the blind man to walk through the process of finding healing. A few chapters earlier there was another man who needed healing. That man told Jesus that he had been waiting by a pool for a long time but no one would carry him in so he could be healed. No one would do the hard work for him.
The blind man could have done the same thing. Because Jesus didn’t instantly heal him he could have sat where he was with mud in his eyes – blind to the world. Instead he accepted what Jesus had given him (spit and dirt!) and did the hard work. The blind man took what little bit of muddy hope Jesus had given him, followed His directions, and stumbled through the darkness to the place of healing. There is something to be said for submitting to the process.
As we have moved through the process we have encountered our share of skeptics. Just like the neighbors who question the healing miracle in this passage we have had people questioning what they have seen in our marriage and what they have seen in my husband. They have wondered if he is really repentant. Did God really deliver him? Is God really healing him and our marriage? Are we just being naive? Some of those comments sound exactly like the ones in verses 8-10. Isn’t this the man who was given into sexual sin? (or “isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” v.8), He can’t really be repentant, he is just putting on appearances (or “No, he only looks like him” v.9). How can someone truly recover from that severe a sin (or “How then were your eyes opened” v.10).
I love how the blind man responds to all of the questions. “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” (v.11). In other words, he took what Jesus gave him, followed His direction, and submitted to the process. No instant healing just blind faith and obedience.
We have been on the long, hard road to healing and have been committed to the process. The redemptive process that we are invited into is real. And so is the forgiveness. My husband and I know what it’s like to be handed mud and still follow in blind faith. Ours hasn’t been an instant miracle, but it is a miracle none the less.