I have struggled with anxiety for most of the 50 years of my life, truly since I was a child. It’s always been there. I’ve gone through periods where I beg God to heal me and then sort of give up. At times, I have wondered if I were not worthy of this healing.
Maybe that’s one reason why the gospel healing stories are some of my favorites. In today’s Gospel from Luke, we meet the blind man of Jericho. Truly, this man is kind of a hero to me. There he is on the roadside, probably dusty, dirty, seemingly one of the most unworthy. He is blind. When you have any kind of a serious challenge, whether physical, spiritual, or mental, it tends to define you. I imagine that the whole of his days were spent with that deep sense of dealing with all the challenges of his blindness and having to beg for his daily sustenance.
Then, upon hearing that Jesus is nearby, he starts calling out. Immediately come the rebukes and shaming from the crowd, attempting to silence his cries. But guess what? He will not be quiet; scripture tells us “he kept calling out all the more.” His persistence, his boldness, his single-hearted desire to encounter Christ was rewarded, and it even included a miraculous healing. Perhaps even more glorious was to hear Jesus praising his faith. Then this poor blind man becomes both seeing and rich in heart by giving God all the glory and following him.
I want to learn from this blind man of Jericho about this bold, yet humble attitude of heart. I have been learning in various ways that only really humble people can be so bold to call out. The humble realize they have nothing to lose. They are not concerned with others’ opinions of them, and they realize only God can quench their deepest desires. They come as they are – knowing full well they are in need of a Savior. They realize, at the core of their being, that they cannot save themselves. So to the humble, it’s an “all-in” attitude of heart.
The world and the evil one will always try to silence our cries too by sowing doubt, shame, and skepticism. We have all experienced these whispers and shouts within our own hearts, such as: “You are not good enough. You are weak. God doesn’t hear you. Don’t be a fool. Why would God heal you?” Lies! Lies! Lies! Everyday, we must call out all the louder to our Heavenly Father who always hears our cries amidst the noise surrounding us. We don’t have to use lofty words or pretend to have stronger faith. We, too, must come just as we are.
So whether you’re about to begin your day this morning or whether you’re reading this as you close your day in prayer, consider which blindness, anxiety, or other challenge seems to be defining you these days. If you are unsure, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you. Then start calling out to Jesus. When the doubts flood in, as they most assuredly will, cry out all the louder! And then, in the quiet of prayer when Jesus asks you, “What do you want me to do for you?” Just state simply what you need, and allow Him to do the rest. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.