Today’s lectionary theme focuses on restorative healing, first of blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) and second for the Old Testament man Job (Job 42:1-6,10-17).
Job has finally come to the end of a long ordeal. After Satan had instigated evil against him, Job’s children were murdered and he lost his health and wealth. That long travail of suffering would now cease and be replaced by a new life. Job’s friends had sinned by speaking agitating words that only added to Job’s suffering. Now, reflecting on his own shortcomings as well as his friends’, Job prays for his companions and God opens the gates of redemption. The scripture indicates that Job’s fortunes began to be restored only after he prayed for others. There’s a lesson here, in that our compassion can release God’s power. If someone has done you wrong, our faith obligates us to seek restoration. If there’s someone in your life who is separated from your love then God’s Spirit is ready to help you reconcile.
Now to the New Testament passage where we find blind Bartimaeus crying out to Jesus for healing. The cries were so loud and persistent that the crowd chastised the blind beggar. Jesus heard Bartimaeus and decided to help. When Bartimaeus heard Jesus’ response he sprang up and ran to the Savior. Jesus asked him what he wanted, and with the unmistakable request for sight, Jesus healed him. This example is instructive for us today as we consider how to approach God. First, we are encouraged to make our appeal known. Then, as our Savior draws close to us, our faith connects and releases healing power. Out of the depths of need, we can cry to God for help. Those around us may not be comfortable with our pleas but we persist because we want to be faithful and make our needs known. We wait for the Lord to respond, and as our hearts receive God’s presence, we can leap with joy. Finally, we maintain our faith, believing and expecting that God can and will do great things for us.
Both Job and Bartimaeus were active participants in their healing. They persisted even when those around them weren’t helping. We must guard against discouragement, including from people who want us to give-up. Let us therefore ask God to provide what we need, and in turn our faith will sustain us. Expect great things from God, and don’t allow negativity to ruin your appeal. We are called to great joy, even in the midst of setbacks. We can be touched by God’s favor as we cultivate an attitude of expectancy. Energetically pursue what you need and don’t feel unworthy or too timid to reach out. Do you have a situation that requires God’s intervention? Don’t try to hide it too much! Even at the risk of being judged unfairly by spectators make your plea and receive healing. As you are restored, people around you will witness God’s power and then become more likely to find their own restoration. -–Reverend Hoxey