From Sitting At the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, pages 56 - 57.
As Christians we can become addicted to stories of miraculous change, believing that if God is listening to our prayers, every sinful urge we feel will be healed immediately. Contrast this with the record of the Gospels. Think how often the disciples messed up. They made mistakes to the very end--even on the last night they spent with Jesus prior to his death. After eating the Passover meal, his closest disciples fell asleep while men armed with clubs and swords made their way to the Mount of Olives to arrest Jesus. At the precise moment their rabbi most needed them, they failed him.
While the Gospels record many instances of Jesus instantly healing people's illnesses, we know of not even one instance in which he simply waved his hand to immediately fix an ugly habit for one of his disciples. Instead, he simply kept teaching and correcting them, giving them time to grow.
God seems to work like this much of the time in our own lives. He lets our weaknesses and difficulties drive us to himself, keeping us close. Miracles happen, but the inner transformation we so desperately desire can only be achieved over time. God seems to prefer it this way, perhaps because he knows we can only become like him by maintaining a constant close connection.
I like to think that the disciples were such slow learners! But, so am I, Lord. I keep sliding into the same old bad habits. I keep falling into those same sins again and again. You have to pick me up, lift my chin, stare into my moist eyes and explain to me again, and again. Don't You?
You have to teach me and re-teach me. Guide me. Correct me. Remind me. But, Lord, ever so slowly I'm learning to let Jesus be Jesus in me. In my weakness I am forced to cling to You, to pull up close to You.
And when I do, when I scooch up close to You, miraculous things happen--not just TO me, not just FOR me, but IN me.
It is true, Father, that the greatest miracles of all are not measurable by our temporal standards. The greatest miracles of all are measured by eternity. They are the miracles that occur inside me when You save me, when You forgive me, when You transform me from a stumbling, self-centered child into a beautiful replica of Your Son, Jesus.
Please, Lord, keep teaching and correcting me like You did those first twelve disciples. Keep giving me time to grow.
A constant, close connection to Me is the answer, Little One. It's a big, ugly world out there. You'll hear My voice and feel My presence only if you stay close. You'll sense that you are safe and warm only when you snuggle up under My arm.
And learning that isn't instantaneous for you. So, sometimes I have to reign you in. Sometimes I have to yank on the rope and pull you to My safety. It's not because I'm angry with you, Little One. It's because I know what is best for you and I know where you need to be. Right here next to My heart.
That's right where you belong.