This is part 2 of a post from earlier in the week.
Almost two years have flipped over on the calendar since that conversation. Globally, nationally, and locally we have experienced and endured surreal and alarming circumstances, and they seem far more daunting than the fog.
The fog, for me, was God's mercy.
I sat on that rock for months considering Jesus’ question. What did I want him to do for me? The battle I fought with that question would wear anyone right out—I couldn’t fathom Jesus asking me what he could do for me when I should be asking what I could do for him.
Sadly, a critical spirit rose in me and scrutinized, even dissected, the words, messages, and actions of others—a bitter root growing. I found the speck in their eyes while pushing my own eye log back and forth. This attitude blinded and inhibited me to the compassion and grace God asked me to extend. But God, through his Spirit, was working. He is a miracle-working God, right?
One day at lunch with my husband, the Spirit broke through to me. Across the table, my husband sat as we talked, and I railed, angry and frustrated. But that day, my husband called me out—in gentleness and kindness, he pointed to the log in my eye. He took hold of that broken and splintered trunk with a strong and experienced hand and held it still so I could see it. He didn’t try to remove it, and he didn’t dismiss my anger or frustration. He called the log what it was and waited for the words to sink into his wife’s heart. They didn’t just sink; they pierced.
Even then, I heard Jesus speak to me, as arrogant and critical as I was,
What do you want me to do for you?
I felt unworthy for Jesus to ask me that question.
Yet, I returned to listen to my brother Bartimaeus. He didn’t hesitate and wonder if his answer was acceptable or appropriate. He didn’t analyze how others would perceive his request, and he didn’t allow the censure of others to shut down his cries for mercy. Bartimaeus didn’t stop shouting; no, he shouted all the more. Louder. Persistent.
And Jesus heard him.
He told the disciples to call Bartimaeus to him. And they said to the roadside beggar, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And our precious blind man threw off his cloak, anything that would entangle and impede him. He leaped up from his pallet and went to Jesus.
Bartimaeus didn’t answer Jesus’ question with a pseudo-pious or even a genuine question of his own, “O Lord, first, what can I do for you?”
This blind beggar knew he had nothing to offer. And so he answered Jesus’ question with no hemming and hawing, just a straight answer.
“Let me recover my sight.”
I have answered the question Jesus asked me as I sat on that rock in the fog.
But it took me a while.
I lost sight of my calling and the good work God has assigned to me. I lost the coordinates of the places God has asked me to go and to stand and the gifts he has given me to use. Blinded by the haze of the enemy’s smoke bombs, I stumbled. In the hateful discord of opinionated platforms and controversies, I closed my eyes to shut it all out and forgot to look up and take heart—my own cloak tangled around my feet and a log protruding from my eye. But my heart was crying out for mercy.
And Jesus heard me.
And he said, “Take heart. Get up; I am calling you.”
With Bartimaeus, my answer is, “let me recover my sight.”