My dentist found a cracked tooth the other day. That’s a first for me, and I’d say that’s pretty good for a person my age. As I wait for him to install the permanent crown, I’m very aware of the temporary’s alien presence in my mouth. I’ve never had a crown either. The process is unpleasant, but I’m glad I didn’t have a root canal or lose the tooth.
When I was young, I heard a saying about aging: “All your parts don’t wear out at the same time.” I’m finding that to be true. First this little thing. Then another. Then a major surgery. Aging is full of surprises. I’m glad they come in stages because I couldn’t handle it all at once.
And I used to wonder why the old folks talked about their ailments so much.
Getting this new crown is in two stages. I woke up this morning, thinking about another two-part healing process.
22 They came to Bethsaida, where some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. After spitting on the man’s eyes, Jesus placed his hands on him and asked him, “Can you see anything?” 24 The man looked up and said, “Yes, I can see people, but they look like trees walking around.” 25 Jesus again placed his hands on the man’s eyes. This time the man looked intently, his eyesight returned, and he saw everything clearly. –Mark 8:22-25 (GNB)
This is the only miracle Jesus performed that wasn’t complete immediately. It happened in two stages, the first being a partial healing before the final restoration of sight.
Jesus could have healed the man instantly. Why didn’t He?
Many commentaries say it represents the Disciples first having a partial recognition of who Jesus was while they were with Him. Then, after the resurrection, they came into a fuller understanding of Him as Messiah and Lord.
Paul talked about our process of growing in understanding in First Corinthians.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. –I Corinthians 13: 9-12 (NIV)
This story about Jesus healing a blind man, together with this passage from Paul’s letter also speaks to me about having patience with the processes of life. We spend a lot of time waiting. Healing takes time. Spiritual growth and understanding take time. It’s also learning to trust God’s timing. It gives me time to adjust to the changes.
So, I’m living with inverse effects at this stage of life. In spite of some minor physical decline, I’m rejoicing in major spiritual growth. I’ll take that trade any day.