Sometimes we think that miracles should be all nice an neat. We ask God for help, our prayer is answered, and we have our miracle. Unfortunately, life does not work like that. Today's Gospel (Mark 8: 22-26) is a perfect example. A blind man is brought to Jesus and people want a miracle. Then something unexpected - instead of just healing the man directly, Jesus take the man outside the village and spits on his eyes! And surprise - it doesn't work, at least not completely. Jesus has to touch his eyes a second time before his sight is fully restored. What in the world is this about?
I think that Jesus wanted people to know that things do not always work out smoothly or neatly. Life is messy, and when God interacts with us it is also sometimes messy. We all want the quick and complete miracle, but few ever receive them. So many people pray for themselves or others who are sick. Instead of getting the complete cure, they see either a little progress, or perhaps even a setback. Why not a miracle? Well, it all depends on our definition of miracle. Several years ago, my doctor told me that a heart murmur that I had since childhood was worse. After consulting a cardiologist, I ended up having open heart surgery. The surgeon does hundreds of these each year, so to him it was no big deal. But to me, the fact that God had given this man the knowledge and ability to open my chest, stop my heart, keep me alive with a machine thaat pumped my blood, fix my heart and start it again was a real miracle.
And there are hundreds of these miracles that we witness each day without realizing it. Even though we understand the mechanics of things, the fact that we can do them is itself a miracle. Flip a switch and a light goes on. Not very flashy, but a miracle. expose a tumor to radiation and it shrinks. Happens every day, but a miracle. Now, each of these did not come about immediately. People had to struggle and try many times before they received the inspiration from God to get it right. And even then it is not always completely successful. (Ever had your computer crash? Talk about an imperfect, messy miracle!)
The point is, we have such high expectations that we fail to appreciate the small, perhaps incomplete miracles. The may not meet our high expectations, they may not do exactly what we want the way we want, but they are all around us. I think the Lord is challenging us today to look for and appreciate these "messy miracles". And if we do, we just may be surprised that we are one of those messy miracles for someone else.