One of the things we must always remember about God’s miracles are they aren’t so much for us as they are to bring glory to Him. A lot of times when I hear people asking about why God acted in a certain situation and not another, it’s usually along the lines, “Why couldn’t He do this for me?” That question shows the focus right there. The miracle wasn’t a desire to glorify God. It was a desire to make life easier. Sometimes that’s not in our best interests. What are we going to do once we receive that miracle? What are we going to do when God answers that prayer? Is it about Him or is it about us? For at least one of the two blind men Jesus healed, it was about Him once the healing was performed:
As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. – Luke 18:35-43, ESV
Matthew tells us there were two men, but Mark and Luke decide to concentrate on just one. Mark even tells us his name, Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus. But the reason I focused in on the Luke passage is what we find in the last two sentences. The blind man, now healed, followed Jesus and glorified God. In turn, the people who saw the miracle did so, too. When God answers our prayer, this should be our reaction. We should be immediately about glorifying God. Our glorifying God should provide some of the impetus for those who know of the answering of prayer to do the same. This is why God usually performs miracles. Now don’t get me wrong. The passage in Matthew tells us that Jesus reached out in pity. He had compassion upon these two blind men. Our God is a compassionate God. But sometimes answering our prayer the way we want it answered hurts us instead of helps us.
Think through your life thus far. Has there been times that have been hard that have really grown you? What happened when times became easy again (relatively speaking)? Did your faith waiver? Did you vision start to drift to things other than God? It happens to all of us. I remember my days at The Citadel. When the pressure was on us the most as freshmen is when we were at our best. We had to be. But during those periods when things slacked off, whether due to exams, due to a weariness due to Regimental Band’s heavy performance schedule, or what have you, we didn’t use that “extra” time and freedom to be even better. Truth be told, we slacked off. Now you could argue that you can’t keep up that intensity all the time. That may be true. But the fact of the matter is that when life got good, relatively speaking, our attention to those things which mattered most for us as cadets at The Citadel were among the first to slide. And I have seen similar things in my life and in the lives of those around me as I’ve gotten older.
So maybe the real miracle is that God keeps the situation as it is, where you and I are forced to rely on Him. Maybe that’s what’s best for us, though we don’t see it that way. We don’t often think like that, but think about how many times in the New Testament God’s apostles talk about being counted worthy to suffer for Him. How many times do they talk about keeping focus on Him? What about when Paul talks about being content in Philippians, regardless of the situation? Do we think like that in our normal lives? We should, but we often don’t. And that may be why God is answering our prayers, but in a way completely opposite of what we desire. He knows if He gives it to us our way, we will waiver and lose focus. We will get caught up in things we ought not. And thus He keeps the pressure on.
That says a lot about us. And it says a lot about these men, especially Bartimaeus. God is blessing us all the time. There are multitudes of passages which reveal God blesses the righteous and unrighteous at the same time. But often those who are righteous due to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross forget about these blessings. Or we don’t see them as blessings. For instance, my years at The Citadel weren’t easy. However, at this point in my life I count them as an enormous blessing. I learned a lot. I was stretched a lot. God used circumstances at The Citadel to bring to a head not only my salvation but His calling on my life. Without the hard times of The Citadel I don’t know if either would have come to pass. He has used setbacks and losses in other situations to help me realize His magnificence in my life and His blessings in the small things we usually don’t give a second thought. For instance, I loved to cradle my three oldest children when they were babies, but cradling my newborn daughter took on greater significance due to the loss of the twins. To me that’s a miracle now. And I will glorify God for it. What in your life have you not paid much attention to, that upon closer inspection, is something you can truly glorify God for? Lift it up to Him today with thanksgiving and praise.