We serve a purposeful God who works with intent and precision. We observe this clearly in the Word of God as the Lord Jesus interacted with people during His time on earth. It is also true that throughout each of our lives we need to be restored to the Lord in various ways and for various reasons. Let’s observe from several passages how the Lord engages the needs of those around Him, the method He uses to meet the need, the result or outcome of the interaction, and finally the purpose of meeting the need.
Mark 8:14,15 “Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them,” (NKJV)
Peter’s mother-in-law had a need—she was sick with a fever. There was a direct and personal connection made between the Lord and this woman—he touched her. Jesus healed her by touching her forehead—no! At least that is what you or I may have done. Instead, He touches her hand for he had in mind for her to serve with her hands. We learn from the gospel of Mark that she was immediately healed which allowed her to serve.
In John chapter 21 Jesus restores Peter. He needed it! Peter denied even knowing the Lord whom he had been with for years and had unequivocal proof that He was who He said He was—the very Son of God, the Messiah. Peter’s weakness led to his rejection of the Lord. In this situation, the Lord doesn’t physically touch Him, but He does touch his heart by asking Him three times, “do you love me?”. The Lord knew what was needed to draw Peter out to fully restore him for the purpose that he had in mind for him. The Lord restored Peter to feed His lambs and His sheep, which indicates the broad range of ages that he would minister to. But we find additional reasons for the Lord restoring His fellowship with Peter. In verse 19 we see that a restored Peter could follow the command to “Follow Me” and that Peter was also going to glorify God in how he was going to die. So much purpose in these few verses as a result to his restoration!
Earlier in John, the disciple Thomas was full of unbelief that Lord had appeared to the disciples. He must have thought that they were lying to him or were totally delusional. However, it wasn’t just their testimony that he was disregarding, but it was Jesus’s as well for He had said “He (I) will rise again.” (Jn. 18:33) Thomas’ lack of faith demanded that he would not believe “unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” () Jesus connected with Thomas by granting his request to see and touch Him. Thomas was convinced—Jesus was alive! There was zero doubt in Thomas’ person when he fell in worship after having identified the Lord. Worship of Him was the Lord’s intent in restoring Thomas. Not only that however, Jesus also takes the opportunity to state, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” () In these words, the Lord blesses and encourages you and me centuries later who have not seen Him raised from the dead.
Blind From Birth
In John 9:1-3 we read, “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”
Clearly, this man’s need was physical blindness and the Lord gave him sight who had never before seen the light of day—amazing! He did it by applying clay and saliva to his eyes. The Lord involved Himself directly with the man and his need. We also see the wonderful purpose that the Lord had in giving the man sight, “that the works of God should be revealed in him.” The man was a seeing, walking testimony to God’s power and grace. The Lord’s ultimate purpose was to restore the man’s spiritual blindness and when He did this the man responded in worship (v. 38).
Let’s personally reflect on what we have seen. The Lord understands our need. The Lord wasn’t physically with Thomas when he initially expressed his disbelief and yet we see the Lord of Glory knowing his need and how to minister to it. How about you? Do you have needs? If you are reading this you are alive and because of that, you likely have many. Be assured, the Lord knows each and every one of them and He knows how to meet them.
These passages also illustrate how the Lord is personally involved in meeting our needs. He wants to engage our person, our heart with His own, and he wants to do this for both our personal benefit and also for the benefit of those around us. Have you been restored? It is for a purpose. In fact, there are likely many purposes, similar to what we observed. It may be for worship, service, shepherding or to be a testimony, or perhaps all of these things.
One thing to not lose sight of is the personal benefit of the Lord’s interaction with each person. The woman no longer suffered from her fever, Peter no longer lived with guilt, Thomas was convinced and believed, and the blind man enjoyed actually seeing his environment and knowing the Lord. The Lord’s purpose in restoration is both personal blessing and blessing for others. He rightfully receives all the glory for both His power and grace are revealed.
One last thing to consider is the timing of when each need arose and when each need was met. We are not told how long Peter’s mother-in-law had a fever, but a fair guess would be hours to days. The time between Peter’s denial of the Lord until his restoration was—maybe a week? We are told that Thomas had to wait eight days before he was able to see and touch the Lord. Consider the blind man. His need was from birth! When he was healed, he was known as a “man” and his parents said, “he is of age”. How long had he been blind? Who knows exactly, but it was a long, long time. The seed of this man’s need had been planted from birth and the Lord knew it.
Our needs today and their duration are known by the Lord and He is using them to orchestrate something far greater than just our good. We tend to focus primarily on ourselves and our needs being met ASAP, if we even truly understand what our needs really are. We can rest assured at just the right time He will meet our needs and it will bring far greater glory to Himself than we can imagine.
Dear friend, let us trust in a good God that sees and knows all things and is working behind the scenes in our lives and also those around us.