Working a VCR in this day and age has become to me like starting the 40s vintage John Deere we used on the ranch when I was in jr. high. This is in part because after 30+ years of living in Central Standard Time, I just can't get it in my head that prime time starts at 8:00 and not 7:00. That is why I have Tivo (mine was a $49…cheaper than our early '90s VCR by more than half). I can just click on a show in the program guide, and it will record the show (or even the entire season) without my having to remember which time zone I live in. That may seem trivial, but when you're all excited about finally sitting down at 11 p.m. to watch a recording of Amazing Race only to find you have the local news or a rerun of King of Queens it's very disappointing.
I say all that to say this–I had to use the VCR last week. The Tivo was going to be recording one thing, and we wanted another at the same time, too. So, up I went to the dusty VCR. To play it safe I had it record all three hours of prime time on the channel Tanya wanted me to record so I could be sure I got the right thing. As a result, I got a show I'd never heard of called Miracle Workers.
This episode of Miracle Workers had three stories, I think, but I only saw one before drifting off to sleep (not because of the show; it was midnight and I was dead dog tired). The one I saw was about a father who'd been blind for the last seventeen years. He'd never seen his wife & kids. I missed the part where they explained the surgery (and I've not time to go back and watch it again), but basically, the doctors were able to restore the man's sight. It was incredible to watch him as he saw his family for the first time. It was interesting to see the transformation of his heart and priorities as he talked of how regaining his sight had put his life back into perspective, and how important his family was to him.
Obviously, I couldn't help but think of all the people who went through similar experiences with Jesus. John 9 tells a man blind from birth who received his sight because of Jesus. Matthew 15 speaks of the crowds that came to Jesus seeking healing as well. There Matthew writes:
Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. (Mt. 15:30-31 NIV)
I don't want to take away from the tremendous work the doctors did in this man's life. I believe that, like the food we eat, the homes we have, the air we breathe, etc. that their knowledge, gifts and skills are a gift from God (James 1:17). And, I understand the word "miracle" means several different things. I don't want to get into the tired old discussion of how "we incorrectly use the word miracle." Instead, think about this–they had years of learning, research, practice, trial & error, and applied science to get the results they got (and a $25,000 gift card from CVS for follow-up medications). There is less miracle than hard, diligent work (and thank God for the hard workers).
There are three observations I want to make:
- Jesus spoke sight into existence. His mere words banished leprosy, dropsy, paralyzation and even death. That, my friends, is the true meaning of a miracle. He was a Jewish carpenter from a podunk village, not a highly trained surgeon. So what's that mean? Read all of John 9 and then John 20:30-31 for the answer.
- Note the response of the man whose sight was restored by the surgery. It is strikingly similar to the results of those Jesus miraculously healed. He wanted to put (and keep) his life in order and set his priorities straight. I won't say much…just think about that one for a while.
- Note the result of Christ's healing: "The people were amazed…And they praised the God of Israel." For whatever God has done in your life, whether it be as dramatic as a positive reversal of your health, or as simple as a good night's rest, have you praised Him yet today? Have you let His blessings change your focus and priorities, yet? Why not take a moment, then, before clicking off to some other site or task, and praise your God who is in Heaven.
Psalm 103 NIV (A psalm of David, King of Israel)
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows who we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children–
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.