My fave Bible character is Bartimaeus. He is not a miracle worker or a powerful prophet or a great preacher or a person of great stature in the society or someone who led armies to victory. He was a blind beggar. But he made God say “What do you want me to do for you?”
He figures in three out of the four Gospels (Mark 10:46-52, Matthew 20:29-34 and Luke 18:35-43) and is identified by his name in the Gospel according to St. Mark.
Sitting on the roadside, when he heard that Jesus was in town, he began to shout and say, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.” People around him asked him to keep quiet, but he shouted even louder. Jesus then called him and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” He answered that he wanted to see and his sight was immediately restored. He then followed Jesus.
So what inspires me about Bartimaeus? His persistent faith! He was not bogged down by his blindness or his poverty. He knew that Jesus could touch and transform his life. When people around him discouraged and actively opposed him, he persisted with an even greater vigor till Jesus took note of him and lovingly gave him the miracle he was looking for.
Do we have faith like Bartimaeus? While going through struggles, pain, suffering, problems can we put our faith in the Lord like Bartimaeus did? When we struggle with our faith, when we are bogged down by sin, apathy, lukewarmness, laziness, indifference, busy-ness, can we persist in our faith like Bartimaeus focusing not on what pulls us down but on Him who can raise us up? When experiences, incidents or people passively or actively encourage us to shun our faith, can we, like Bartimaeus, shout out louder and put greater trust in the Lord and his personal, unconditional love for us? In the face of everything that snuffs out our hope, can we, like Bartimaeus, hope in Him who can turn our darkness into light, our mourning into joy, in Him who knows and understands us like no one else does, in Him whose love for us is greater than our sin, our vices, our mistakes, our weaknesses, in Him who has great and wonderful plans for us, in Him who will never leave or forsake us?
Let Bartimaeus – a beggar who begged his way into God’s heart – inspire us to persist in faith and to trust in His love and mercy.