Thursday, August 26, 2004


Learning to Walk

I've been thinking lately about the story of Peter and John meeting the crippled beggar by the temple. He'd been crippled all his life. Peter and John have no money, but "What I have I will give to you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, get up and walk."

Everyone concentrates on the physical part of this. The man's legs are healed. A miracle. There is another miracle here that no one talks about. How did this man, who had never been able to walk, suddenly learn out to not only walk but run and dance and leap? It takes children years to learn this. God entered this man's mind and gave him the ability to walk, in all of its balanced and unpredictable complexity.

Think about it. While you're walking you know where your feet will end up. You don't have to think about or govern this process. Actually, if you do, you're more likely to fall over.

So, here we have an instant healing. Why is it that instant healing is so rare nowadays? Specifically, I wonder why God can't just rewrite everyone's software to do whatever is necessary.

A year after starting this experiment with learning God's way, I haven't gotten very far. Why can't depression be treated as a crippled leg and simply rewritten? I asked God about this last night and the answers were, in one way, surprising, and in other ways not surprising.

Walking, it turns out, is pretty much a learn-it-once kind of thing. Depression took a lifetime to learn, and it's a part of who I am. The threads are much more tangled and delicately connected to everything in me. Experience is a big part of that, so I have to keep leaning on myself to change course and get new experiences that will change my outlook.

What makes this possible is God's caring. I never had any idea he would care about this. Depressed? Get out there and work. Live with it. Life isn't supposed to be enjoyable. God is doing it anyway, healing my depression, one day at a time, through a variety of means. Much of it right now is stopping me from just breezing through life without thinking about anything.

God wants me to be aware of what's around me, and also what's in me. I've lived most of my life trying to ignore as much as possible, so what's happening now is confusing, and painful at times. It's rather as if your leg has gone to sleep and now it's waking up, with the pins and needles. God very kindly manages the pace to something I can handle, and he's provided me with some people who encourage me. From a distance, of course, because if they got too close I'd run.

Healing of this sort takes time. I'm trying to be patient, but I'm still wondering what that "Un-believable Life" is that the preacher promised. Maybe this is it. It is unbelievable that the God who made the Universe would care about one creature's mental state.

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