TITLE: Alone with God
By William Baldwin
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Mark 8:23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man's eyes, He laid His hands on him and asked, "Can you see anything now?"
24 The man looked around. "Yes," he said, "I see people, but I can't see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around."
25 Then Jesus placed His hands on the man's eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.
They brought him to the Miracle Worker. He was blind, possibly a professional beggar like other disabled folks of his day. Word had gotten out that Jesus would be passing through his home town of Bethsaida that day and this would be the chance of a lifetime. So his friends brought him to the Teacher to beg, on his behalf, for a miracle.
Even though it was still daybreak, a small crowd had already formed and the blind guy was next. Jesus reaches for his hand and says, “What da ya say we take a walk?” Grabbing the man’s hand with a firm grip, Jesus leads him away from those waiting their turn. Together they stroll down the market street, take a right on the path where the camels are stabled, and disappear from sight around the corner at the carpenter’s shop. The onlookers shook their heads and muttered, “You never know what the Nazarene will do.” Everyone watched in unbelief as He walked away, leading the blind man from the growing group clamoring for His attention.
The nervousness of the sightless seeker was obvious, but he was afraid to say anything to such a holy man. The stench of the stable, sound of women clanging their buckets at the village well, and merchants opening up the market were fading away. They walked until finally, they only heard the crunch of their sandals on the dusty path and a lonely whippoorwill in the early morning distance.
The man’s insecurities got the best of him and he mustered the boldness to ask Jesus, “Where are you taking me?” He felt rather helpless. What he needed was a miracle, but instead he felt as if he was taken prisoner. What was going to become of him? Is this man really as good as they say? Thinking back on the stories he’d heard about this Miracle Man, he couldn’t recall anyone saying he’d snatched other people away like this.
“We need some time alone,” Jesus finally answered him. His answer didn’t console the helpless man a bit.
“Wh…Why couldn’t you help me in town like you did the others?” His voice trembled as he stumbled to keep up with his Guide.
Jesus didn’t apologize for withholding information. He simply replied, “We need to be alone for this one.” He could feel Jesus looking at him.
Before he knew it, everything, and I mean everything was completely silent. Bethsaida was now a long way off. The blind man was feeling vulnerable. Fear and agitation were building inside. This was not at all what he expected.
Like thousands of disabled people, he needed a miracle. He simply wanted prayer and a touch from God, for goodness sake! He thought this was his chance to become normal like others who had been healed by Him. And here he is, dragged away from his family and friends, and only God knows what will happen to him out here alone with this Stranger. If they don’t return soon, would his friends send a search party? “I should have left well enough alone. I mean, I’ve learned to cope with this blindness,” he beat himself up with his thoughts.
Had he known things would have worked out like this he would have never allowed himself to have even faintly believed that anything good, much less a miracle, could happen to him. But he chose to believe things would be different, that he could be different. And look at him now! Having less than the best is not as bad as being forsaken and led astray in the middle of nowhere, alone like this.
Slowing their pace and hardly moving now, Jesus looks back toward Bethsaida to measure the distance. “This should be far enough.” He seems satisfied with the journey.
The Healer knows the perfect place to work a miracle, “outside the village.” Away from friends, family, familiar smells, sounds, and support the blind man finds himself alone with the Miracle Worker. Little did he know, he had been led to the place where most miracles occur. The blind guy was divinely escorted and set up to be alone with Jesus in the land of miracles.
The greatest miracles don’t happen in crusades of thousands, but in crucibles of one. Consider these people who received a miracle while alone with God:
Moses, alone in the desert, found God speaking to him from a burning bush, and from there he became Israel’s deliverer.
Jacob’s greatest encounters with God occurred when he was alone at Bethel, and again at Jabbok where he wrestled with God.
After his defeat at little Ai, Joshua retreated alone, was visited by God as the Captain of the hosts and then miraculously crossed over Jordan into the Promised Land.
Alone in depression, Elijah met God in the still small voice, after which his companion and predecessor, Elisha, was sent to him.
Serving in the temple alone, old Zechariah met the angel of the Lord who prophesied the miraculous birth of his son and forerunner of Messiah, John the Baptist.
Mary was visited by Gabriel while she was alone and afterwards gave birth to the Son of God.
Christ died for the sins of the world, according to the Hebrew writer, “Outside the city” (Heb. 13:12), alone. The miracle of His resurrection was conceived at the cross, where they all “forsook Him and fled” (Matt. 26:45).
The Lord has ways of leading us outside the usual, away from everyone and everything that we’re familiar with. I’ve known those who “stepped out in faith” toward their purpose, only to discover a few months later that you can feel very alone when you’re “going it alone.”
Others were abandoned by a spouse or friends. Still others may have resigned from a job, and at the time, it seemed so much the will of God. But now, you second guess your actions. Why? Because it hasn’t turned out as you expected, at least, not yet. Some launched out in business and experienced phenomenal success. Not you. You know husbands and wives who have a wonderful relationship, but not yours. Other churches and ministries grow like kudzu, while you watch people walk away. The stories are endless.
In case you’re confused, let me help you locate yourself. You, my friend, are alone with God. It’s not a mistake. You’ve been brought here on purpose. And in spite of how it feels, this is where the greatest miracles are conceived. Alone with God is the land of miracles!
I’ve been directed here more than once. On one occasion, I left the secure employment of a growing church to launch into my own ministry, one where I would be free to travel to the nations encouraging the body of Christ. The launch went great. A crowd showed up and celebrated my venture. I found the launch to be one thing, but cruising at high altitude is quite another. After the celebration everyone went back home to jobs, families and their churches while I sat alone in my little office praying for invitations to speak. I was directed away from everything I had been familiar with. I took the Lord by the hand and followed Him into a wilderness. As it turned out, the miracle God wanted to give could only take place while He and I were alone.
Solitude is where supernatural intercourse takes place between you, the dust of the earth, and God, the Divine of heaven. This is where miracles are conceived. “But,” you argue, “I thought God said, ‘It’s not good that man should be alone’.” And you are right, it’s not. But for certain miracles to be realized, for a season, it is necessary.
The blind man was away from others, alone with Jesus, longer—much longer—than expected. Isn’t that the way it usually is? It always takes longer than we expect.
If the journey wasn’t confusing enough, the spit anointing was “over-the-top”. I get a chuckle as I find Jesus anointing his blind eyes with His saliva. What was He thinking? Why would the Lord use such an unusual, dare we say “gross” manner? Once again the blind man didn’t recall hearing that Jesus had used this method on others! Indeed, it’s a mystery. We have all, at times, asked “Why are You doing this?” Like many others who find themselves alone with God, there are things that happen that make us ask “Why?” One day, we shall ask Him.
“Do you see anything?” The blind man did see somewhat, but it was still blurry, people looked like walking trees. His spirit sunk. “This is not working out for me like it has for others.” He recalled the stories he’d heard how people instantly walked, sight was restored with one touch, even dead people jumped up off their bed at His command. Miracles came so easy for others. “Now here I am,” he thinks, “and it’s just not working for me. Maybe I’m not miracle material.”
Jesus wouldn’t leave it alone. This time he carefully laid both hands on the blind guy’s eyes. At this “his eyes were opened.” The proper response might even be, “Finally!”
On the way home their gait was much different. This time Jesus had to push to keep up as the blind man, who was no longer “the blind man,” led the way. He tried out his new eyes scanning the countryside and occasionally squinting into the sun, but he couldn’t keep them off Jesus. He was mesmerized by the One who had taken him captive. Jesus looked so much differently than he imagined Him to be, even a little different than His voice suggested. It seemed He was always smiling, even when He didn’t try to.
Suddenly the truth dawned on him when he remembered his fears and agitation, and how he felt so put off, even neglected by the delay. Then the most wonderful thought covered his heart like a warm blanket, “He wasn’t being picked on, he was picked out, chosen. Jesus didn’t put him off but selected him from all the others to be alone with. Didn’t the Master say to him in the beginning, ‘We need to be alone for this one’.”
Those who know God are chosen to experience this divine paradox of heaven. In the beginning we, too, will probably be blind to all He is doing in us. Fears and anxiety will threaten to overcome us as we’re led away from the familiar. But after His work is completed, His unusual means employed, and our miracle in hand, it is intended to pass through us to bless the world.
And when the world applauds you for the miracle, never forget where it originated. You were led there. It wasn’t your idea, much less of your own doing. The beautiful wonder everyone enjoys was conceived and given birth in the land of miracles when you were alone with God.
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