Then again He laid His hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly (Mark 8:25).
One of the greatest personal crises I have faced in the ministry revolved around the issue of forgiveness and a board member. I struggled relating to this man, and I knew that I couldn’t continue on the way things were. So I decided to resign my pastorate.
The week before I was going to read my resignation to the congregation, I got sick. I was flat on my back with a temperature of 103.5 and I totally lost my voice. It was easy to recognize that God wasn’t pleased with my decision. I began reading the Gospels and came upon Mark 8:22-26 where Jesus healed the blind man.
I noticed that after Jesus’ first touch, the man said, “I see men like trees” (verse 24). I suddenly realized that I saw this man like that: a big tree, an obstacle blocking my path.
Then Jesus touched the blind man again and he began to see people clearly, not as trees. I got the message. “Lord, I don’t love this man. I know You do, and I want to. But You will have to touch me like You did that blind man. Lord, I need You to touch me so I can be the person You want me to be.” And God did! I chose at that moment to forgive the man completely.
The next Sunday I went to church, not to resign, but to preach. My voice was still so husky that I almost couldn’t speak. I confessed to the congregation my own independence and my desire for the Lord to touch me, to see people as people, not as obstacles to my goals.
At the end of the sermon, I invited anyone who desired a touch from the Lord to join me at the altar. Soon the altar area and the aisles in the front were packed with people. Eventually all but a few people had come forward. It was a revival!
Guess who was one of the few? To my knowledge he never changed, but I did. And I thank God to this day that He put me flat on my back to make me the pastor He wanted me to be. If I had had my way, I would probably be out of the ministry today.
Lord, touch me today that I may love the difficult people in my life as You do.
By Neil Anderson