Have you had the experience of crying out to God for many years, and then as the busy-ness of life takes over, the cry is still there, but not so loud? Then one day you have this moment, where the Holy Spirit nudges you and says, 'Look.' You look and see that God is answering that prayer. A smile comes over your face, and your heart feels full. The blindness of busy-ness is lifted.
When this recently happened to me, I started thinking about how we often get so focused on other things, that we miss what God is doing. Proverbs 29:18 in The Message Bible says ...
If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. Proverbs 29:18 The Message
When I obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and looked and saw what God was doing, I did indeed feel and know that I was most blessed.
The Amplified Bible says Proverbs 29:18 this way,
Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]. Proverbs 29:18 AMP
Ummm ... No revelation of God and His word ... the people are unrestrained...
Let's look at this scripture for a moment in the context of our thought-life. That is, when our thoughts are not focused on God's truth they can wander wherever they desire. This happens when we are not actively taking our thoughts captive, as God says to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
This is another blindness, not towards what God is doing, but in relation to what we are thinking!
I experienced this type of blindness recently when I let negative thoughts overwhelm me. They caused me to lose sight of God's word. I couldn't see the good. I couldn't see a positive path forward.
Over the past month our daughter has had nine medical appointments in relation to her left leg, and there are two more this coming week. Attending all these appointments brought back the memories of the multiple hospital visits from her time of having chemotherapy treatment. Late last week, both my daughter and I were at the point of sighing, crying and thinking, 'No, not another appointment,' and 'Will it always be like this?' So strong is the emotional pull of old memories and feelings of despair - grief.
For our daughter during recent years the negative experiences around these ongoing appointments have been offset by the joy and excitement of swimming training and competing at sporting events. But due to COVID-19 restrictions and other factors beyond our control, those activities are currently not happening. So, the question she now often asks is, 'What is there to look forward to?'
What is there to look forward to? Yes, blindness can stop us looking forward and it can stop us looking to Jesus.
These thoughts about blindness led me to reading the story of Jesus healing the blind beggar Bartimaeus, recounted in Mark 10 and Luke 18.
Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, a son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.
And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, saying, Jesus, Son of David, have pity and mercy on me [now]! And many severely censured and reproved him, telling him to keep still, but he kept on shouting out all the more, You Son of David, have pity and mercy on me [now]!"
And Jesus stopped and said, Call him. And they called the blind man, telling him, Take courage! Get up! He is calling you.
And throwing off his outer garment, he leaped up and 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, Master, let me receive my sight.
And Jesus said to him, Go your way; your faith has healed you. And at once he receive his sight and accompanied Jesus on the road. Mark 10:46-52 AMPC
What did God speak to you about as we read that story? For me, there were four things which I share below. But first, lets give thanks for the revelation God brings to us through His word. Remember Proverbs 29:18 that we read earlier,
Firstly, Bartimaeus called out to Jesus not once, but twice. He didn't give up. Interestingly when this story is recounted in Luke, earlier in Chapter 18, Jesus is teaching the disciples about prayer, saying,
Don't you know that God, the true judge, will grant justice to all of his chosen ones who cry out to him night and day? He will pour out his Spirit upon them. He will not delay to answer you and give you what you ask for. God will give swift justice to those who don't give up. So be ever praying, ever expecting, just like the widow was with the judge. Luke 18:7-8a TPT
Jesus finishes this teaching about prayer with this question, a challenge to me and you ...
Yet when the Son of Man comes back, will he find this kind of persistent faithfulness in his people? Luke 18:8b TPT
Keep calling out to Jesus. Let's be people of persistent faith.
Secondly, when Jesus responded to the blind beggar's call, it appears from the disciple's words that Bartimaeus was a little hesitant to go to Jesus.
So they went to the blind man and said, "Have courage! Get up! Jesus is calling for you!" Mark 10:49 TPT
As we know Bartimaeus did muster the courage, get up and go to Jesus. Imagine if he hadn't. He would have missed that opportunity to receive healing.
The Message Bible says,
They called him. "It's your lucky day! Get up! He's calling you to come!" Mark 10:49 The Message
His lucky day indeed!
Sometimes it takes courage to respond to what Jesus asks us to do, but that is part of the faith adventure.
Note: there is a great song that reminds me to take courage: Take Courage by Kristine DiMarco.
Thirdly, look what Bartimeaus did when he responded to Jesus ...
And throwing off his outer garment, he leaped up and came to Jesus. Luke 10:50 AMPC
It seems like, that to get up, Bartimeaus had to throw off something - his outer garment. The Passion Translation says,
So he threw off his beggars' cloak, jumped up, and made his way to Jesus. Luke 10:50 TPT
He had to throw off the cloak that represented his old life, before he could receive the new life Jesus had for him.
This was one of the main points of the story God wanted me to understand. I had to throw off the old memories of years of medical appointments. I had to take those thoughts captive and remind myself that we are in a new season now. This is not the past. God is doing a new thing. Some serious talk to self, declaring God's truth and promises was required. For both me, but for our daughter.
Finally, Bartimaeus had confidence that Jesus could make him well.
Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith [and confident trust in My power] has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus on the road. Mark 10:52 AMP
So a question for us, "Who or what are we putting our confidence in today?"
There is only one answer -> Jesus.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." John 14:6 NKJV
So just remember to keep a look out for blindness in your life. The blindness of busy-ness can cause us to miss seeing what God is doing in our lives. The blindness of negative thinking can stop us looking to Jesus, the One we need to have our confidence in.
Three final thoughts on the importance of confidence in Jesus, and accompanying scripture, because remember what the Amplified Bible says in Proverbs 29:18.
1. We need to have confidence that with Jesus we can do all things.
I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfil His purpose - I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Philippians 4:13 AMP
2. We need to have confidence that with Jesus we can more than overcome.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV
3. And when we can't find that confidence, we need to remember.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power my rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NIV
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