Power in the Mud (Part 2): The Healing Habits of Jesus

During ‘Part 1’ of our ‘Power in the Mud’ series, we examined why Jesus used saliva when performing miracles involving the senses. 

Linkhttps://hisgirlfryday.com/2022/01/29/power-in-the-mud-why-jesus-used-his-spit-to-heal-part-1/

While I hope to unpack similar habits later on, for today, I want to explore the spiritual rhythms of Jesus in situations when miracles manifested. 

‘Cause truth is: For many of us walking through the valley, waiting for healing and physical breakthrough, more hours involve spiritual warfare and the daily positioning of our hearts as opposed to tending miracle aftermath. 

Yet, while handling immediate calls to action are important, my hope with this post is two-fold:

  • To help us not only find the Incarnation in the ordinary but also in the anticipation of extraordinary.
  • To help us take heart as God establishes our steps and makes our paths straight…even before we’re called to walk on them.

Accordingly, here are three basic routines we can employ to calibrate our hearts during gradual recoveries and ahead of divine interventions. 

  1. Time Your Breakaways

As much as Jesus ministered in person, we note he also devoted daily time with God to reset connection. Luke 5 is a classic demonstration of this. After calling his first disciples at Gennesaret, miraculously filling the nets at Galilee, and healing a leper at a neighboring city, we find the punch line in v. 16 (AMP):

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray [in seclusion].” 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why would Jesus withdraw when many others were drawing near to him for healing as well? 

You see…Jesus, at any point, knew exactly who needed the expedite healing to further His name and power without attracting unnecessary attention. From a practical, even vocational standpoint, we can applaud this maneuvering from a time management and facilitative perspective. For Jesus not only wanted to heal the infirmity in the moment but plant seeds of testimony capable of encouraging communities of His presence after-the-fact; hence, why Jesus often told the ex-afflicted where to go, who to tell, and from there would move to his next location (see Luke 5:17-26). 

No matter the juncture…

Jesus had the ultimate end-game in mind: To inspire people to His love through an awareness of their original design and an alignment to their eternal design as co-heirs with Christ.

And while I’m sure Jesus had a master itinerary, partly secured through His quiet times, Jesus never lost touch with His Incarnation – the fact He couldn’t be everywhere and heal everyone at once despite His divine DNA. What mattered to Jesus was activating active faith within balanced boundaries (see Luke 4:38-44) and the strategies confirmed in His breakaways with the Father. 

Bottom line: From pre-service dial-ins to timely retreats, Jesus knew exactly when to engage (heal) and when to reposition/refresh with God – the Cross and ministry of reconciliation always before Him

  1. When in Doubt, Pray

When we explore Jesus’ quiet times, we find He essentially wrote the book on 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 (ESV):

Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.”

Now, to be fair, Paul is the author here; however, such inspiration, no question, came from how Christ modeled His prayer routines. 

Check out these passages:

“…He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-40).

“…it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: ….And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people … and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.” (Luke 6:12-19).

Now, this isn’t to say you must deprive yourself of rest to fully press in. Conversely, as emphasized by the bold text, these cases are examples of how we should cope when desperate and/or discouraged.

Think of this way: What is insanity in the midst of chaos and crisis? Frankly, it’s not praying! At the very least, acknowledge who God is into a given situation and watch as fear fades in the face of scaled perspective. Again, for prayer to be anchored as habit, the practice must be tethered in consistency and intentionality. Jesus literally gave himself outs during the busiest of ministry days to hear what His Father had to say. How much more should we embrace the call to do likewise? 

Bottom line: Jesus’ lifestyle defines solitude as praying with God and embracing the opportunity to vertically rely on Him.

  1. Clothe Yourself in Compassion

If we’re to dissect Jesus’ habits in secret, then it’s only fair to consider His attitude in public. For while Jesus never resisted His lifeline, He also never used it as an excuse to conceal His nature. And the application is palpable:

As believers in today’s world, we may have hope-building acumen, we may know how to exercise our faith; however, if we’re not applying love to the equation, those behaviors are meaningless. 

The question is: How can one convey a relatable, contagious love when we’re struggling emotionally, physically, even vocationally? 

I know for me, when I start to spiral, ideas of going beyond myself, outside myself come to mind. But even those sentiments can go so far. 

The key, I submit, is clothing yourself with compassion as backed by Colossians 3:12 (ESV):

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I find it fascinating how the first word in this series is ‘compassion’, almost as if there’s purpose behind the sequence. Perhaps the author was suggesting love at the heart should be layered most intimately with compassion? Kinda like it’s the inner garment relative to the inner organ of love with meekness/patience acting like the outer garment. Who knows.

What I do know is Jesus frequented the virtue. 

Consider the exhibits:

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” ~ Matthew 14:13-14 (ESV)

“Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’ Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” ~ Matthew 20:30-34 (ESV)

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So, he began teaching them many things.” ~ Mark 6:34 (ESV)

Upon further review, note the contrasts between Matthew 14 and Mark 5. In both instances, Jesus withdrew. Yet, in Matthew 14 (and Matthew 20 for that matter), Jesus pivoted His action on the heels of compassion. While the transitions in Mark are more pronounced, in the end, Jesus stayed consistent as one who could never deny Himself. After all, to answer a cry for mercy is who He is. And though many of us are seldom on the receiving end, the reality is we can follow a similar roadmap is addressing unspoken needs through yielded sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading (More on this from an occupational perspective in our next segment).

Bottom line: Jesus took compassion as one already clothed in it and rode empathy into opportunities to heal and reveal.

Selah.

Cover photo creds: Berean Baptist Church

Message in a Bottle: Why God Collects our Tears

Recently, I received a letter from a dear friend who encouraged Lys & I to consider Psalm 56:8.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” (ESV)

At first, I was confused. For starters, what are tossings apart from 3:00 am body shifts…and what exactly is the tie between “bottle” and “book”? Is there something specific I’m to glean from this in present application?

So, I did some digging, following my curiosity into the Word (which may or may not be my default entrance these days). And upon further review, I couldn’t help but notice some powerful reminders…

1. Per Psalm 56‘s header, this passage was written after the Philistines seized David in Gath. As such, the oft quoted, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (v. 3) a few verses prior would become a critical heartcry allowing his hope to rise above the flesh. While simple in statement, the declaration established immediate divide between eternal safety and present concern for David. In turn, this solidified his endgame as “[walking] before God In the light of life” (v. 13).

2. The word, “tossings”, stands out as a word worth underlining. Although bedside maneuvers can be involved, on a larger scale, tossings refer to wanderings and challenging seasons we walk through. Accordingly, the fact God is quantitatively cognizant of our sufferings should assure us of His sovereignty and omnipresence in times of strife. One could say this makes perfect sense given God is continually directing our steps (Proverbs 16:9) and knows everything from the number of our days (Psalm 139) to the hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7)…

3. Despite the verse’s urgent tone, the concept of bottled tears stabilizes the tenor. To David, tears were deposits of desperate trust into a bottle of remembrance. Given he had already surrendered his fear (of what men could do to him), he had, by proxy, opened his heart to receive comfort and his posture to look up. Poetic license applied, the metaphor is a beautiful reminder how even in great pain and distress, we can acknowledge the God who rejoices over us with gladness (Zephaniah 3:17) is the same God who weeps alongside us when troubles mount.

4. Just as God is omnipresence, so is He omniscient. Since nothing takes God by surprise (Psalm 95), the idea of God tallying a ledger of our trials and tribulations should hearten us to take heart. After all, God not only wipes what we weep but is forever on standby to offer joy as featured within the unveiling of His purposes/promises.

How sweet it is knowing we can delight in suffering in remembrance of Christ knowing He does the same thing with us each and every day!

Bottom line: In seasons of grief, in times of challenge…don’t be afraid to cry out and leak a little along the way. As David expressed literally and figuratively, our tears are never in vain as they…

All the more reason to trust God through the struggle and know He’s for us through the sorrow (v. 9).

Selah.

Stay tuned next time when I’ll return to our Power in the Mud series to discuss why Jesus was so passionate about healing on the Sabbath. For now, I’d like to thank all our supporters and prayer partners as we share this 200th post! We greatly appreciate your words of encouragement and engagement the past five years especially as we’ve turned the corner from youth ministry into marketplace ministry. Although there’s much going on behind the scenes, we look forward to continuing our aim to resource the church and empower vocationals everywhere to live as Christ within their arenas of influence.

Footnotes

  1. Hence, why God tracks what He allows to stretch us and what He appoints to transform us into His likeness.

Cover photo creds: Marilyn Gardner