When the crowd calls Bartimaeus to Jesus, the beggar throws off his cloak and leaps up. He leaves behind what is probably his only possession, his means of protection and livelihood—the cloak he uses to keep warm at night and which he spreads out during the day to collect coins and scraps of bread. He leaves everything he has and comes to Jesus. Maybe that leap of faith begins Bartimaeus’s healing. Maybe at that moment he is saved. He cannot see the way; he does not know what lies ahead, but he goes. He acts in blind faith.
Faith is the conviction of things not seen. It may involve rising and going blindly in the direction of the Word you have not heard yourself. It is sitting in the ashes with Job, finally seeing and responding as he did, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). Faith is going to the cross, watching soldiers compete for the cloak left behind, and suffering and dying and not being able to see God. It is following Christ, even when we cannot see where the way leads, even if it leads to suffering.
We are all beggars, poor beggars lacking sight, dependent on others, struggling along, suffering, and often unable to see the source of blessing right in front of us. But God watches over us; God sees us; God in Christ waits to offer us mercy. All we have to do is get up and go in the direction of the Word. When we can finally see the One who calls us, then we, like Bartimaeus, are to follow—and in our following be made whole.
O God, you have seen me through suffering. May I have faith to see and follow you. Amen.
Sometimes we can look back and see why challenging things happened to us, but this is not always the case. Job never fully understood his story but finally submitted his life to God in humility. In Job’s case, God restored with abundance. The psalmist also rejoices that although the righteous may suffer, God brings ultimate restoration. The reading from Hebrews continues celebrating Christ’s role as the compassionate high priest. Unlike human high priests, who serve only for a time, Christ remains our priest forever. A man without sight in Jericho knows of Jesus compassion and cries out for it, despite attempts to silence him. He asks Jesus for mercy, physical healing in his case, and Jesus granted his request because the man has displayed great faith.
• Read Job 42:1-6, 10-17. What are your happy and unhappy endings? How do you acknowledge both?
• Read Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22. When has an obstruction or impediment influenced your relationship with God?
• Read Hebrews 7:23-28. What distinction do you draw between sacrifice and offering? Which do you prefer?
• Read Mark 10:46-52. When have you been unable to see the blessing right in front of your eyes?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.