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Please don’t pass me by

December 1, 2015

It was his usual spot. Everyone in that area knew him for he’s been there since anyone could remember. He had someone to help him occasionally but most of the time he was alone. Life circumstances made it that he had no other choice than being a beggar. You see, he was blind…

That alone could have stirred up pity in the hearts of people, but they hardly noticed him. Only when you’re in that position—that of weakness and helplessness— you get to see the frigid, cold emotions we people sometimes have. Some passed by without even allowing a look at him, others would leave him coins, but just a small amount that could hardly buy a thing. But he was, nevertheless, grateful because he could just scrape along on that very little income.

Basking in the sun every day and facing its scorching heat on that roadside was a challenge but Bartimaeus was used to it. But apart from that he faced other challenges; like hunger, derision and some were taking advantage of his blindness to steal his money…

But one day, on a normal casual day in Jericho, he heard the sound of a tumult…

He tried to find out what was happening. ‘Why all these people?’ ‘What’s going on?’ ‘Are we in some kind of danger?’ ‘What kind of noise is this?’ You see, he had to find out for there was no way he could just sit there clueless of the happenings! He asked to the nearest neighbor which might have ignored him; as usual. But eventually he found out it was Jesus passing by. A myriad of thoughts hacked their way through his mind; thoughts strangely full of hope.

He knew about Jesus and his miracle working power. It was an opportunity to heal, a doorway out of his pain and it looked to him as the crack of the dawn; it looked as if there were pricks of light shining in his utter dark space. The prospect of recovering sight got him enough energy (that he surely didn’t have) to cry out to him. He managed, as a matter of fact, to cry louder than anybody else. He cried: ’Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’

People were used to see him sitting on the roadside begging, but this time his shrieks were annoying. They tried to persuade him that it was of no avail and that the Master, as any honored guest in a house, didn’t come to be dealing with such dirty people (with no manners) that brought such trivial matters. Some even used strong language trying to stop him.

However, all of these couldn’t get to him. All that they were doing was to thrust him back to darkness. His heart throbbing, his body filled with unusual energy and zeal to leave the darkness; he cried all the more, giving a howl of pity. His voice became increasingly husky as he wailed with pain to the one who could get him out of the misery of blindness.

He had to shout; shout to make his distress signal loud enough; shout as loud as he possibly could for Him who carried his freedom and healing in his very hands.

Fortuitously, Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he’s calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

Let that sink in. This six verses story is usually read in a hurry, maybe because we know it so well. But if only we’d stop for a while and feel the dynamics, only then should we see that we’re not much different from this blind man.

At the end of the day, blindness isn’t limited to our physical eyes and, added, our unguided and purposeless ways of life of going back and forth endlessly, bumping into the same obstacles again and again make us look more like the blind man.

Could Bartimaeus just shake off blindness out of his life? No! So in the same way it’s nonsensical—let alone impossible— to produce light and direction for our lives with nothing other than our own efforts.

What, in light of this, can we do other than crying out for his mercy?

And just as Bartimaeus cried out of his yearning for sight, we may cry out of our yearning for light, meaning, hope, purpose and guidance. Shall we?

"As the deer pants for flowing streams,
So pants my soul four you, O God.” Psalm 42:1

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