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Praying for the Miracle

Praying for the Miracle

They came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind . . . Mark 5:15

Honestly, I struggle with today’s passage. In the story, Jesus encountered a demon-possessed man. Violent and impossible to restrain, this man lived naked among the tombs, where he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones (Mark 5:5). The townspeople knew the man well, so when Jesus delivered him, it was a dramatic transformation to see him sitting with Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.

It was a grand display of Jesus’ power and we’re told the man went on to tell many about what Christ had done for him. My struggle with the story is that in the past, when I’ve read it, I’ve banked on the same kind of miracle. In my addiction, I too, wanted to go instantly from disaster to recovery, without any of the hard work.

We tend to do this with any mental illness or behavioral disorder. When we have appendicitis or cancer, we have no problem going to the doctor and submitting to the painful treatment plan. When we’re anxious, depressed, addicted, or have some behavioral disorder (I’m not saying doctors have all the answers and I’m not comparing anxiety and addiction) though, we pray for the miracle. God will instantly transform me if I just have faith.

If Paul’s experience – with the thorn in his flesh – is any indication, we can and should pray for the miracle. It’s not wrong to ask God for deliverance. The normal experience though is not an instant fix and when we use the miracle plan as an excuse to refuse obedience to God, we’re just being lazy.

In my addiction, I prayed. God told me to confess and get help. I refused, pleading for the instant cure. God declined, insisting that I go through the long, arduous process of obedience.

This is where most of us find ourselves. We’ve begged God just to remove our thorn, but he hasn’t. What are we to do? We must go to God, asking his will. What is it that you ask of me God? For many of us, the answer is simply that we must daily learn to do whatever it takes to drag our struggle before God, abandoning ourselves and following him. This may be what we need to do every day for the rest of our lives. It is often only in our weakness that we truly learn dependence on God.

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