I recently had to undergo eye surgery. The recovery for this surgery was such that I could not open either of my eyes for nearly four days. Now, as I look back on that time, I am realizing I could’ve relished it a bit more. But for this highly extroverted people person and Enneagram 3 who values productivity as if it’s my middle name, that experience was close to what I would equate as the dark night of the soul. It was completely brutal and absent of the presence of God.
Am I exaggerating? Maybe.
I did at one point tell Tyson that I thought God was punishing me for something, and in Tyson’s kind, gentle, yet challenging fashion, he said, “I hear that you are in pain. But do you really believe that?” Sort of as if he was reminding me that he knows I don’t actually believe that to be true about God, and he also knows I can be a bit of a drama queen at times.
There once was a man who was blind. He would sit on the shoulder of the road begging for someone to help him. He heard that the Great Healer, Jesus, was around from people who passed by, so he would cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”
When the man was brought to Jesus, Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
What do you want me to do for you?
Several times during my closed-eye recovery, I thought, “I wonder what any of this has to do with a spiritual reality.” I hated that recovery time. As a matter of fact, even though the doctor said my eye was healed, I am still not feeling fully recovered. I wanted to be able, like any conqueror or hero, to tell the story of how even this eye surgery taught me something about God. I wanted to have an amazing recovery journey and to be on the other side of healing.
I wanted to be well.
I wanted to be back to normal. I wanted not to have to sit in the healing and have God minister to me in that dark place.
I read this story about Bartimaeus and find myself wondering why Jesus asked that question. He knew fully well what he needed to do and exactly what Bartimaeus wanted, I imagine. But the more I reflect on the question, the more I can’t help but wonder—maybe that question was pause enough for Bartimaeus to consider Jesus’s presence even before the healing came. I can’t help but project my experience on to Bartimaeus and think that Jesus knew that someone like me might need to find a pause before healing, to attend to the presence of God.
I want to be on the other side of healing. I so easily want to be healed instead of being ministered to by Jesus in the midst of healing. But Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Not as if he doesn’t know, but as if he’s giving me a pause to notice where it is I’m actually being healed before the healing comes.
Haley Wiggers is passionate about discovering how the messy, painful, and unexpected gifts that come with being human connect and relate to and offer understanding of how God relates to and cares for us. She’s been married to her husband Tyson for 4.5 years, and together they just welcomed their first little into the world. His name is Theo, and he is the cutest. United by undeserved grace, they’ve created a life centered around table fellowship with others and long walks with their puppy.