In Mark 8:22-26 it tells of a blind man who was brought to Jesus to be healed. Normally I'd read this and think nothing more about it than that it was another example of Jesus' power and mercy, but this time it struck me that Jesus didn't provide immediate healing to this man.
First, he led the man out of town. I'm not sure why he didn't perform the healing in town, but I think there's a correlation to us in this. I think sometimes we are led out of "town," out of our comfort zone and away from what we are familiar with because that's the only way we focus fully on our Savior. It's during that blind walk out of what we know that we hold tighter to His guiding hand. Often when we are led out of our comfort zone we feel as if that in itself is a trial, but it's often done in order for us to experience Christ's healing.
What really struck me about this story of healing, though, is that Jesus didn't provide immediate healing. We know He could have. He could have just touched the man and restored him to perfect eyesight. But He didn't. After leading him out of town he put his hands on him and asked if he saw anything. The blind man responded that he saw "men as trees, walking." Because I have bad eyesight, I can totally relate to his response. Without my glasses I can see and distinguish objects but men at a distance would look like nothing more than a tree that is walking. I would imagine that even that amount of eyesight would be thrilling to the blind man. Because he knew what men and trees look like, I would assume that he was not always blind, and I can imagine that even that amount of restored eyesight would be thrilling. Just to be able to see colors and shapes again would be worth celebrating.
Jesus didn't leave him partially healed though. He then put His hands on him again and provided total healing, to the point that the man "saw every man clearly." I started wondering why Jesus would perform a partial healing before giving the man perfect eyesight again.
Then it hit me- Jesus often provides partial healing before perfect healing occurs. It's not that He can't or even won't provide perfect healing (and in many cases He does), but I think that part of our journey of faith is enhanced by partial healings. Some people have infirmities and limitations that may only be healed to the point that they are able to cope. Some seek healing for the pain of grief, loss, or rejection, and are given healing to the point of comfort and strength to go on, but without the complete healing that allows them to move on and live life with total joy. I think that this story of a partial healing helps us to understand that sometimes what we seek healing for will not be miraculously taken away or healed all at once. Often healing comes in steps and stages. And some healing will never be complete or perfect here in mortality. It may take the actual touch of Jesus' hand, and that won't happen until we stand before Him in person.
So for now, I'll try to be thankful that I "see men as trees walking" because that means that I am not blind any more. The healing I seek may not be completed in this life, but I have hope because I can see His hand restoring me bit by bit, and I know that one day I will be touched by His hand and I will be perfectly healed.