“When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” Mark 10:47
When I was in elementary school I contracted a case of conjunctivitis. During that time I would awaken every morning with my eyelids sealed shut over my eyes. The first time I experienced the inability to open my eyes it was frightening and I wasn’t sure at all what was happening. I was trying to make my way through a house, bumping into things, unable to see, in search of help. Eventually the best I could manage was to stop my attempts to move and just yell for help. I was, at least for that moment, blind and helpless.
I have spent most my life being able to see. As I have aged I have required a pair of glasses to correct the deficiencies of sight I have come to know. But I have been able to see, for which I’m grateful. When we find ourselves limited by compromised eyesight it may be best not to plunge ahead recklessly into the dark. When we do so, we may be doing injury both to ourselves and to others. It may instead be a moment to, with great humility, cry for help. It may also provide an opportunity to discover in the darkness other ways to navigate.
We are experiencing some dark times in the world. That darkness provokes a variety of reactions. I believe in my best moments the darkness provokes two particular reactions that are beneficial. First it can possibly provoke the humility that cries out to Jesus for mercy. In the story at the end of Mark 10, Jesus, while traveling toward Jerusalem, encountered a blind beggar who cried out for mercy. The blind man, while he could not physically see Jesus, had heard that it was Jesus passing by. He recognized Jesus as the long awaited Messiah and appealed to Him for mercy. In his darkness he still was able to discern the presence and the authority of Jesus, the son of David and humbly appeal for mercy.
When I find myself paralyzed by the overwhelming sense of darkness, I have an opportunity to acknowledge my need for help and cry for the mercy of Jesus. While the crowd surrounding me may attempt to silence my cries, I am confident that Jesus hears my humble cry and calls me to come to Him.
The second possible opportunity is to keep listening in the dark. While this blind man was unable to see and probably had been that way for some time, he still kept listening. It was while listening that he heard the good news of the presence of Jesus. Often in the dark, when our sight is compromised, we can fail to recognize the presence of Jesus that comes by a word rather than a vision.
The darkness provides a context to hone our listening skills and attend to the word that reveals the presence and authority of Jesus. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5 indicates that the journey to and with Jesus is one accomplished by faith and not by sight. By faith this man recognized in Jesus the very thing he needed most. That same faith caused the blind man, Bartimaeus, to throw his cloak aside, leave his resources behind, and come humbly to Jesus. At this point Bartimaeus was dependent, not upon what he could see of Jesus, but what he could discern regarding the voice of Jesus. His attention was focused on the call and word of Jesus that indicated His presence and invitation.
Whatever darkness in which you presently find yourself, I want to encourage you to cry out to Jesus for mercy and to keep listening for His voice speaking the words of invitation to come. His words reveal His presence and it behooves us to listen and appeal to Him for His help. In His presence we can discover His help, healing and the ability to see and follow Him with confidence. I have included a song to bring some added encouragement during this time.