Then the town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him
to leave their region (Mt.8:34).
I'm reminded of a movie entitled "The Robe." In
the movie a young lady was unable to walk. The main character in the film, who was a roman
leader, could not understand how the woman could do anything but despise Jesus. For he
knew that Jesus had been near the woman but did not heal her of her affliction. But the
woman was not embittered for in her heart she had received much more from Jesus than the
healing of her legs could have brought her. She had learned how to walk on spiritual legs
though her physical legs remained useless--and in that she found that Christ could take
her much farther than her legs ever possibly could have.
It is the miracle we expect that may be the very one that is never done. On the other
hand, it is the miracle we do not expect that may be that which is done. It seems that we
often have things a little backwards as to how we see them and how they actually are. We
determine, like the man in "The Robe," that if God is who we believe Him to be,
then He must do this or that. Or if God is who we believe Him to be, then He must not do
this or that. Yet it is God's will that God must follow, and not our expectations of Him.
The trick may be in our being like the young crippled woman. For though she could no
longer walk in the flesh, she learned to walk in the Spirit. Her expectations could have
very easily been that Jesus heal her so that she could physically walk again. But as she
was able to release her expectations of Him, He was indeed able to accomplish much more
than she could have ever imagined.
It is sad when the response to Jesus would be to become upset or perhaps frightened as He
accomplishes His unexpected will. The townspeople that came out to meet Him did not find
quite what they had expected and so "pleaded with him to leave their region." We
lose more than we know through our expectations of God. We want Him to work within our
guidelines for Him, and if He does not, we might turn away in disbelief or confusion--we
might even hope that He would kind-a, sort-a leave--if that were possible. In so doing we
settle to walk in the physical (being spiritually crippled), and miss what might be found
through the working of God's beautiful unexpected.
But we are spiritually crippled. We were not created that way, but sin comes in and sweeps
our feet out from under us. And we lose our ability to walk in the Spirit. To walk in the
Spirit again takes hard work and time--just like physical therapy. We have to learn how to
walk all over again and it is not easy. We will fall down from time to time (a lot right
at first). We will feel weak and tired, and sometimes we will not want to get back up. But
we know we must, if we are ever to walk again.
The miraculous wonders of God run deep in the unexpected. For this is where we can find
people who have not been delivered out of the storm, but who have peace in the midst of
it. We find those who have not been physically healed of a terminal disease, yet
spiritually they are full of life. And we see men and women who have no earthly reason to
be happy, but every heavenly reason to be joyful.