Lately I’ve been in a Spiritual struggle. It isn’t an inner conflict, exactly. It certainly is neither inner confusion nor a Spiritual battle. Actually, it is a pleasant struggle, like the playful wrestling around that two kids might do on the grass in the cool of the evening after a hot day.
It began innocently enough while reading the end of the ninth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. I’m sure you’ve read it too. Y’shuaJesus opens the blind eyes of two men who’d followed along behind him crying out for mercy.
And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.
Did these to men sin when the spread the word about Y’shuaJesus’s healing of their eyes? Simple enough question. But, they’ve been blind. How are they suppose to keep people from knowing about it? They were, no doubt, led from home to wherever they hung out during the day to await someone’s kind handouts. Now they can walk home themselves. Is no one suppose to notice this?
The various commentaries were of no help; one said one thing, while another said something contrary. Did the men sin? If so, how exactly were they suppose to not sin? And why is this important? It’s not as if it’s a faith-breaking thing. This isn’t some Spiritual battle that means I’m in Spiritual hot water. It’s just a curious thing.
An acceptable answer came. I could say, “The Lord told me. . .” Or I could say, “The Lord put it in my heart. . .” Or I could simply say, “I was led to an acceptable answer.” How does the Lord speak with us? That’s the way the answer came to me.
Now this sort of back and forth tussle continued throughout last week and this weekend on different questions that seemed to arise. Some of the questions came as responses to previous ones. Others, it seemed, just sort of popped up seemingly out of now where. Not all were “solved,” as they seemed only to be things to be explored, at least for the moment. It’s been fun. It’s been relaxing. It’s been reassuring.
So, the two formerly blind men—Did they sin or not? First, just asking the question was important. Second, not having an answer was equally important. I asked a question and spent time with the Lord exploring. In the end, it turns out it wasn’t about whether or not the men sinned or not.
Just telling this account now reminds me of something I realize how much I miss. For many years, as an adult, I would spend Sunday afternoon with my parents at their home in California’s Central Coast. Year round the weather was pleasant. Dinner was always served at 6:30, and was the big weekly meal. Usually during the meal we would talk, and continue some discussion long after eating. Occasionally the discussions became a bit heated, as is natural, as we disagreed on something. I learned from those discussions so many things. Not just about my Father, and his views, but ways to see the world. With him I was free to express everything I might be thinking, and while we may seem to argue about something, and he may say, “You’re cuckoo, or something,” it wasn’t him being mean. He didn’t put be down for what I might say. When things did get heated, my Mother would say, “Turned out nice again!” It was her way of saying, “Okay, boys, enough is enough, give it a break.”
The last time I saw my Father alive, he could barely speak; the Parkinson’s Disease had so affected him. I last saw my Mother when we buried my Father in a National Cemetery not far from where I was born. A bugler played taps. A rifle squad fired a twenty-one rifle salute. As we said good-bye, she said with almost no Welsh accent left, “We did good, didn’t cry.” Then tears welt up in our eyes.
It wasn’t many months later that we spoke on the phone. She was not feeling well. Her doctor said it was the flu. As we hung up, she said, “I love you.” I said, “I love you.” It was something that had never happened before. That night she died of meningitis.
This past week has been with my Heavenly Father like those dinner conversations with my birth Father, who would have turned 94 this month.
One day we’ll all sit around a table and dine together at the Feast. What a glorious day that will be. And truly it will have “Turned out nice again.”