Purposeful Faith

When People Look Like Trees

People Look Like Trees Sight

Today, I am delighted to have Angela Parlin, a regular contributor to Purposeful Faith, posting today. Angela is full of wisdom, grace and truth. Her words have a delicate tone that gently guide my eyes to God every time. I hope you delight in her words today as much as I do.

Post by: Angela Parlin

“God won’t stop until we can see everything clearly.”

~David Lomas, The Truest Thing About You

Just when you start to think you have Jesus figured out, He spits in a man’s eyes to heal him in an unconventional way.

It’s the only gradual healing we find in the gospels. Typically, Jesus touched someone, or they touched Him, and His touch healed them instantly. At other times, He simply said the word, and a person was healed.

In Mark chapter 8, Jesus healed a blind man in a two-stage process. First, Jesus led the man outside of town and spit in his eyes.

I’m not even joking. And the oddness only increases. Because this is Jesus–who holds the power to heal anyone in any way—and it almost seems as if He messes up the miracle, at least the first time around. Read it for yourself:

…When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

He looked up and said,

“I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes.

Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:23-25)

Now we all know Jesus didn’t mess up the miracle. He is able to do anything He wants, in any way He chooses. I think He healed the man in this unusual way in order to teach us some things about our spiritual sight.

Just before this healing, Jesus fed thousands of people with a tiny amount of food. He also walked on water, calmed a storm, healed many others, and cast out demons by the handful.

His disciples were near Him, and they watched it all. Yet they still didn’t see.

They still didn’t understand.

Jesus reminded them what He had done, right before their eyes. You can almost see Him shaking His head and asking,

Do you still not understand?” (verse 21)

We can be really slow learners. We can be near the Lord, and still not see Him for who He really is. Things are still blurred.

We see something, a glimpse, and think we understand. Because we comprehend more now than we did before.

But maybe what we see is the equivalent of people who look like trees walking around.

Most of the opening of the eyes of our hearts, occurs progressively, over time.

Most of our spiritual progress can’t be measured by leaps or bounds.

Every conversion is different. Every restoration is unique. But many of us only see dimly when we come to Christ. Then He continues to touch us and restore our sight until it becomes clear.

This miracle illustrates the way He opened my eyes, and continues to open them to new and deeper truths year after year.

As Jesus heals our spiritual sight, we will see Him more and more.

He’s not done yet. He will be faithful to complete this good work He’s begun in each of us.

Does that stir up hope in your heart the way it does for me?

Dear Jesus, Make us see…

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the fullness of day. Proverbs 4:18

Angela Parlin







Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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64 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Angela,
    Silly me…yes, just when I think I have Jesus (and a triune God) figured out, he reveals to my prideful heart, that I still don’t see clearly. Now, I just enjoy how He continues to bring my life’s lens into focus catching glimpses of Heaven – where I will see clearly. Thank you for a beautiful post that reminds us of just how patient Jesus is with us/me.


    • Bev,
      Yes, I love the way you put it, He continues to bring my life’s lens into focus catching glimpses of Heaven…so thrilled He is patient with us. Thanks for this comment!

  • Angela, it is encouraging to know that he is at work to help me see more. I just want to behold him face-to-face, but I can’t. He is preparing us to behold him in complete glory. This post also makes me think of how we need to keep on returning to Jesus in order to be healed. We want this one time encounter, but sometimes we need to return and return. Love your words sweet friend. They encourage patience in my always-sprinting heart. Cheering you! – Kelly

    • Kelly, Praise the Lord, He is preparing us to behold Him in complete glory! I’ve been learning so much this year about the way we grow, what a process it is–it’s called a lifetime! Cheering you on as well!

  • Yes, this DOES give me hope, Angela. So many things I don’t see clearly now. this rung true for me because I read this very passage this morning, and as I read it, I thought the same thing I always do: What in the world???

    Thanks for bringing some light to this passage for me and offering words of hope! #RaRaLinkup

    • Betsy,
      Yes, I know…so often we read passages we’ve read a number of times and still feel the same way–WHAT??? Thanks for joining this conversation!

  • Angela- Thank you for your beautiful words. It’s so encouraging that sometimes Jesus chooses to heal slowly – but He is still healing nonetheless. These words pack so much truth: “We can be really slow learners. We can be near the Lord, and still not see Him for who He really is. Things are still blurred.” I love the verse you ended with…. May your day be a bright one!

  • So good! There is a difference between a healing and a miracle. We may not understand why God chooses to answer in stages or more slowly than at other times. We just trust His timing; all things for our good. Blessings!

    • Yes Nannette, we do not often understand. One of the things that struck me as I studied this passage was that God can do anything any way He wants to. We don’t see all His plans & purposes, but we can TRUST Him no matter what. Blessings back to you!

  • Thank you for these beautiful words Angela. I am reassured to know that even when my faith unfolds slowly or sometimes is not as strong as it should be , Jesus is always patient and understanding. Jesus never gives up on us and walks by our sides as we learn to follow Him more closely. So glad to be here soaking in your words today.

    • Mary,
      I love what you said here–SO true! He is always patient & understanding, never gives up, walks by our side… and what you said is perfect, “as we learn to follow Him more closely”. Thanks so much for adding to the conversation!

  • Angela , I really love the analogy of comparing us to the blind man seeing people looking like trees. I can think of countless times when my eyesight was blurry: difficulties in marriage, kids and life. Once I got to the other side I realized the situations that seemed one way was actually people looking like trees. Beautiful job. Be blessed! – Kia

    • Kia,
      I agree–so often we don’t understand, there’s more than we can see happening around these situations, and the Lord is in the details even when we don’t see it. It’s wonderful when we can get to the other side and understand some things more clearly…although many times it’s not that way, we still don’t understand. But we learn to trust Him even then. Blessings to you!

  • “maybe what we see is the equivalent of people who look like trees walking around.” You hit the nail on the head, Angela. At least where I am concerned. Thank you for such a beautifully, inspiring and enlightening post.

  • Love, love, love this post, Angela! Everything you’re saying here is so true, my friend. Thank YOU, LORD for continuing to open our spiritual eyes to take us deeper in YOU! Amen! Thanks so much for sharing this! Peace and many blessings, Love! 🙂

  • mmm, Angela … sometimes Jesus chooses to heal on the spot … and then often the healing comes over time and space.

    However He chooses to do these miracles in our lives, He remains The Healer. I’m so grateful to hear stories of how He turns us upside down and inside out …

  • Isn’t that an amazing story? It makes me want to SHOUT with triumph today! I never noticed the two steps in the process before. Thank you for bringing new insight, Angela:)

  • Wonderful post! I am so grateful that my walk with Him is a progression. As my heart & mind engage with His Word, I am able to see Him more clearly each day. Thank you, Angela, for sharing these truths today. And thank you, Kelly, for sharing Angela with us all 🙂 Blessings to you both!

    • Joanne,
      Thank you for your encouraging words! Me too…grateful my walk with Him is a progression like you said. Here’s to seeing more clearly each day!

  • So much of change is process. I guess the process is really where the growth happens. “Most of our spiritual progress can’t be measured by leaps or bounds.” Well why not 🙂 I want it to happen quickly. Thanks for taking this portion of scripture and making it come alive today. Blessings Angela and blessings Kelly for sharing your hearts and lives with all of us.

  • Thanks so much for hosting again Kelly, and Angela, what a beautiful application of truth! I’ve always pondered this story, but you are right, it takes time to “get it”. I “get” so much more now than I did as a young Christian, and yet I continue to understand more each time I read the Scriptures!
    Great insight today!

  • Angela- Such deep and beautiful insight. Great post and encouraging truth as we continue on our faith journey. Thank you for this sweet and well-thought out gift. 🙂

  • Wonderful read, wonderful lesson, Angela. I’ll definitely chew on this one. It was the only gradual healing, eh? That caught me by surprise, opened my eyes. Am praying along with you… Yes, Jesus, make us see.

  • I love the fact that my relationship with Jesus is constantly growing and he reveals more to me as I spend time with him. So many people sadly think it stops at conversion, what a wonderfully encouraging post – God’s still working 🙂

    • Such a good point, Tania. And truthfully, growing up, it’s not that I thought my growth completely stopped at conversion…but I did think there were certain parts of scripture that I no longer needed, things that no longer applied, because I had already “done that”. Little parts like say, the GOSPEL. Oh my…praise God, He IS still working and teaching and opening our eyes. 🙂

  • Angela,

    God knows, I am such a painfully slow learner sometimes. The spit was for me I think;) Not by leaps and bounds, but step by step does He mold me into who I’ve been created to be. Thankful for His mercy and patience! Wonderful post today:)

  • I am learning the truth of these words in my own journey, “Most of the opening of the eyes of our hearts, occurs progressively, over time.” His timing is so different from our own, but we can trust in His goodness and His love.
    Blessings and hugs,

  • Hi Kelly and Angela! Yes, I understand all about gradual healing. I think it would almost be too much to be instantly healed. God knows that I wouldn’t handle the shock to my system very well.
    ‘Spit in his eyes’. Almost seems like an insult, doesn’t it? And yet, it heals.

    • Ceil, Great thought–that it would be too much all at once. I’ve heard that taught before, that He works in us little by little and we’d never be able to handle it all at once. Thanks for the encouragement today!

  • He’s not done yet – and how grateful I am for that. That He is continually working in us, opening our eyes to His truth, and speaking it straight to our hearts. So grateful that we have a God that is continually moving and working in, through, and around us. Thank you for your words here, Angela. Blessings! And thank you Kelly for bringing them to us.

  • Angela, I have long been fascinated by this two-step miracle and enjoyed reading your take on it. It’s a great analogy of how our growth as believers often happens! I also appreciate the verse you closed with … another beautiful word picture! Many blessings to you today!

  • praise God that HE’S not done yet and that He teaches us gradually…idk if i’d be here if He did it all at once. 🙂
    so glad i came by today!

  • “We can be really slow learners.” Amen, Angela! I’m exceptionally slow. God has sent me down some pretty serious paths to finally learn certain lessons. Thanks for this important and beautiful encouragement today!

  • Candace, Thanks for your thoughts here…I totally understand on the slowness factor. 🙂 I”m so glad the Lord continues to teach us even though it takes us a while to get there. God bless!

  • Yes, I find hope in this, Angela. He will finish the good work in us He has begun. I needed to hear more about this process of healing and opening of our soul’s eyes. He is never going to forsake us! Thank you for this reminder.

  • LOVE how you opened this one up and what you focused on. “I think He healed the man in this unusual way in order to teach us some things about our spiritual sight.” <—truth! It's so true that He opens our eyes in unique and individual ways, and so important we don't judge others for the way He opens theirs. I love this! Thank you!

  • I’m just now stumbling upon this wonderful blog and community, and, boy, am I glad I did. This post is spot on and necessary encouragement for us all. Spiritual progress often isn’t instantaneous. It’s a journey that gets more beautiful as Christ reveals more of himself to us so that we can be like him. I really enjoyed this post!

  • Kelly thank you for sharing this incredible encouragement by Angela! I had never looked at that passage in this way. Some days I feel like I am seeing trees!! Some days it feels like I can’t see past the forest of trees in order to see the road clearly. I think sometimes the Lord blurs my sight in order to make me pause and remember I need His sight for every step along the way. I need Him to open my eyes to see clearly and give the thanks to Him!

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