Tuesday, January 28, 2014

cry out all the more

Loneliness is an interesting thing. I think we all experience it at some point or another, or we have seasons where we feel unheard, unloved, un-anythinged. We want to cry out to God, but the crowd around us seems to be drowning us out.

Her needs are really so much bigger.

Who am I to ask God about this?

I must not even be cut out for this life.

I am alone.

God doesn’t hear me.

There are two men in the Bible who must have experienced a little bit of this. They had heard Jesus was in town. And that was big news. They also must have heard what Jesus had been up to. He wasn’t just hanging out with sinners and tax collectors. He taught with authority. He infuriated the religious elite. And perhaps the best news of all was that Jesus healed. He didn’t discriminate among illness either, he healed everything. 

These men were blind. And when they heard that Jesus was near they did the only thing two men who can’t see would do. They shouted. They yelled themselves hoarse to grab ahold of Jesus’ attention. But the crowd around them sneered. They told the men to be quiet. In a large crowd that must have been something, to yell loud enough and long enough to be heard over the roar of a multitude. 

When these men were criticized by those around them, they did the only sensible thing.

They punched the crown in the face.

No, not really. I’d like to think that they wanted to. But I wonder, how often do we listen to the crowd around us? Or the crowd within us? We give more attention to the lies than the truth of Jesus standing right in front of us.

Jesus won’t answer you anyway.

You missed it.

You're wrong.

What you’re trying to do doesn’t matter.

Your small and insignificant and not worthy of the mercy you are begging for. 

These two men were tenacious enough to ignore the throng around them. When the crowd told them to be quiet they shouted all the more.

And guess what?

Jesus heard them.

He hears us too. When we feel shut out or abandoned or misunderstand. When there are no words for our feelings. When the lies have taken root and we are in desperate need of a life line.

Jesus heard these men and didn’t keep going to the next round of official Messiah business. He heard them and he stopped. He asked them the most important question they had ever been asked. “What is it you want me to do for you?” They wanted to see. And so Jesus healed them.

You see, it’s not uncommon to go through seasons where we feel alone and abandoned. It’s also not uncommon for God to allow this because he has something to teach us. I think we underestimate the value of those seasons. They are critical to our faith because they cause us to cry out all the more. The best news of all is that Jesus hears us and stops. He doesn’t brush us aside. Those men, they could have decided to listen the crowd. They might have thought that they should be quiet, that Jesus wouldn’t bother with them. But times of loneliness or feelings of abandonment come and teach us to cry out all the more. Not to yell at our adversaries. But to shout for Jesus. 

Jesus son of David, have mercy on us!

This was the cry of their heart. And it is the sweet and tender heart of Jesus to answer us.

Don’t allow feelings of loneliness or abandonment to dictate who you are. Take those feelings for what they are, signposts to point back to the one who knows us best of all and has all the answers we will ever need. We have the choice to cry out and attack those around us, or cry out to Jesus. Too many times I make the wrong choice. I complain about my situation and throw the grandest pity party the world has ever seen. But that’s never the right choice. Even though my eyes can see, I am just as blind as those men. I focus on the wrong thing and miss the truth in my situation. Today, in whatever kind of trial we go through, I pray desperately that we make the choice to cry out all the more for Jesus. It’s the only way to truly see.

*Read the account of the blind men in Matthew 20:29-34

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