In the Gospel of Mark there is a story about a blind man and his encounter with Jesus. Scripture isn’t specific as to whether or not this man was blind by birth but let’s just assume that he was. Imagine how this man must’ve lived – his life depended completely on those around him. He couldn’t work because of his condition and was likely left to beg on the city streets. After a while this man became used to it though. Hearing the hustle bustle of the street life was something he had grown accustomed to. I’m sure he was quite familiar with the sound of shuffling feet walking by. He had memorized how to get around parts of town whether by feeling the wall next to him as he walked, or counting paces. He had gotten good at being blind. The life of a dusty street beggar was the only life this man had ever known and was probably ever going to know.
Think about what it must’ve felt like to come to terms with the “hand you’ve been dealt”. To reach a point where you finally stop fighting what you are – a poor blind beggar. Imagine settling in to the reality that you can do nothing for yourself. Left to your own devices you’re a dead man. You depend solely on the generosity of others.
Then one day you hear that this famous Rabbi is coming to town who has been known to heal people. You feel something inside of you that you’ve never felt before, something completely unfamiliar – hope. This is your chance. This is the day that deep down inside you’ve been waiting for. But alas, you are blind, and have no way of getting to where this Rabbi is on your own.
Suddenly, a group of people grab you and start leading you towards all of the commotion. You’re not sure who they are or their motive for bringing you to the Rabbi, but you’re content with finally feeling acknowledged by people. It’s then that out of nowhere you feel a hand inside of your hand. The hand is calloused, like that of someone who worked manual labor for a living, certainly not the hand of a Rabbi. Before you know it, this hand begins pulling you away. You hear the roar of the crowd grow fainter in the distance and begin to let sorrow sink in once again. Someone is leading you away from this miracle man. Maybe they’re bringing you back to your place of begging, maybe they are leading you away because like the people that pass you every day, the Rabbi is too busy to see you.
It’s at this moment that the hand leading you stops and lets go. You aren’t sure of your surroundings or what’s about to happen. Again, you are completely at the mercy of someone else. All of a sudden you feel those hands touching your eyes. It’s a rather uncomfortable moment for you – to have someone touching the part of you that has essentially ruined your ability to be a functioning member of society. When the hands move, you open your eyes and for the first time in your life you can see. To your amazement, the hands that were leading weren’t the hands of just anyone. No-they were the hands of Jesus, the Rabbi that the whole town had come together to see. He had taken you out of the city, just the two of you, in order to give you sight.
Sometimes our life in the Spirit is like this. There are things we are blind to. We don’t know what we don’t know. It isn’t inherently wrong or sinful, it just is. Not until the invisible hand of Jesus grabs us and brings us out of that which we’ve become familiar with will we truly see. Truly seeing however doesn’t mean I am now able to view where we were through an objective lens, but rather that the Man for whom an entire city would gather together to see would sneak away to spend one on one time with a blind beggar like me. Not for spectacle and not for show. Jesus wasn’t healing the blind man so the city would believe. This beggar wasn’t a means to an end. He wasn’t a project, he was a son. He didn’t just need to see, he needed to be seen. He needed to have his eyes opened so that he could look back into the eyes of the one that made him. Only then could he truly see.
Take a moment and become aware of the God’s gaze that’s directed towards you. Not a gaze of condemnation, but a gaze of the One whose faithful love is willing to take you by the hand and walk you out of where you’ve been and into communion with Him. To walk you from death to life. From old creation to new creation. From flesh to Spirit.
Truly seeing means being aware that you are truly seen.
– Sam McCabe