When we come to Christ, we sometimes carry this desire for immediate freedom. We see the many instantaneous, physical miracles in the Bible and wonder, “Why can’t Jesus just touch me and get me free? Why do I have to do all of this recovery work to experience freedom? Why must I go through a process?”
In the Bible, we see both types of miracles: instantaneous and those that occur over time as a process. We see the instant healings of the blind being made able to see (Acts 9:17-18), the deaf being made able to hear (Acts 5:15) and even people being raised from the dead (Acts 20:7-10). However, the Bible also describes physical healings that occurred over time, particularly in Jesus’ early ministry.
Recall the 10 lepers Jesus told to go show themselves to the priest (Luke 17:11-15). They had to obey and put action into their obedience. As they obeyed, they were healed. Theirs was a process healing. Remember the man Jesus told to go wash in the pool of Bethesda. As the man bathed there, he was healed (John 5:1-8). In yet another example of obedience in action resulting in a process healing, recall the man Jesus told to stretch forth his withered hand. As he stretched it forth in obedience, he was healed (Matt. 12:9-14).
Jesus decides if you’ll experience an instant miracle or a process miracle, but both are true miracles. In the former, He does all the work, while in the latter, we have to participate for the miracle to occur. For me, freedom from alcohol and drugs were instant miracles. God took them away, and I have never desired them since. Overcoming sex, pornography, caffeine and sugar were process miracles for me. I used to ask why he had not just instantly delivered me from all of them. I have come to understand that process healing that leads to recovery from addiction has several added benefits over the instant miracle we might desire.