We’ve all experienced the helplessness and desperation of life’s darkest moments. It’s during those times that the enemy of our soul does everything he can to silence us from crying out to the only One who can redeem us. If he can succeed in silencing us he can prevent us from telling the Master what it is we need.
I love the biblical story of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, who’s account was recorded in both Luke 18 and Mark 10.
Here is Luke’s account:
35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
In this story, we see the blind beggar in the midst of a crowd of people. He hears a huge commotion and asked the people around him what was going on. They tell him Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. Now obviously, Jesus’ reputation was already preceding him, because Bartimaeus knew who He was and immediately knew what to do. He called out to Jesus by name, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” What is often overlooked in this passage is the fact that the people actually rebuked him and basically told him to shut up.
This is where I have so often found myself. In my moments of pain, disappointment (in myself and others), self-condemnation, weakness, and the like. In these moments we just want to shout out and tell God what we want. But these, these are the pivotal moments in our lives where the enemy loves to step in and tell us to, “shut up”. That it won’t do any good…that we haven’t done enough to have our prayers answered…that we are alone in our pain…that we are too dirty…unworthy of the Master’s attention…that God is too busy with more important things…that we just need sit down and shut up.
The people in the crowd tried to shut him up. I can’t help but think that these people were being used by Satan to prevent this man from receiving the restoration of his eyesight. The enemy knew what would happen if he did. He knew that the restoration of his eyesight was only the beginning. He knew that not only would the man’s life be radically changed physically, but also spiritually.
I believe the man’s response to the efforts of the enemy (again, recorded twice in the New Testament), was recorded so that we would know how to respond in critical moments like these. So what did he do? The Bible says that he cried out all the more! He basically said to them in his response, “No, I won’t shut up. I will not be denied! I know who that Man is and what He can do for me. Now excuse me, but I am going to get His attention.”
So what happens next? What is the response of Jesus?
So Jesus, in the midst of a throng of people, obviously a pretty raucous group, hears the man over all of them. He heard Him, number one, because He is always listening for the desperate cries of the broken, and number two, because the man actually cried out. So when He hears the cry of the blind man, He stops. (That alone is an entire message in and of itself. ) He stopped in His tracks and said (paraphrasing), “Hey, bring that guy over here.” He then (knowing the guy was blind) proceeds to ask him what he wants. This gave the man the opportunity to simply say what it is he needed.
I think it is important to note that there was no pre-requisites prior to Jesus answering the man’s request…just like many of the miracles of healing Jesus performed on scores of people recorded in scripture. He didn’t tell the man to first go to the temple and repent, put on sack cloth and ashes, and beg Him really hard and maybe just maybe healing would occur. No, He said, “What do you want me to do for you?” The man told Him, he received his sight, his life was changed, and he began to follow Jesus.
Father help us to cry out in the midst of our pain. Help us to ignore the voice of the antagonist. Help us to cut out offering futile, justifiable reasonings as to why we think we do or do not deserve to have our needs met. You gave us example after example through scripture where you responded to those who, knowing of your goodness, simply cried out to you. May we ever be like little children running to our Father with our requests, knowing that we have a Good Father who will make sure that our needs are met. In Jesus name, Amen.