Somedays it’s hard to get out of bed. I’m not talking about the tired sort of hard to get out of bed. I am talking about the weary, hard to get out of bed. There is a difference. Tired is physical. Weary is more about the soul.
On weary mornings the alarm can’t be loud enough or the coffee strong enough. The shower can’t be hot enough or long enough. On weary mornings you stand in front of the mirror, and all you can see looking back is a mask. Sometimes it’s pain over loss, frustration over things that seem out of your control, failure where you feel like you should have been better or any number of other things. On weary mornings it is hard to hear God say, “you are my beloved” and all too easy to hear the devil’s whispers of “you will never be enough.”
I think Bartimaeus probably had a lot of days like that. He was a blind beggar in the ancient world. The people who saw him each day probably did not look at him and think, “oh, he needs help.” Instead, the sentiment of the time towards people in his situation, or situations like it, was “He must be getting what he deserves.” There is no getting around it. Bartimaeus’ life was hard. The only job he could hold down was not a job at all. He was a beggar. When he considered his day, it is possible that there were plenty of voices in his head speaking the devil’s tale of defeat. And it possible he agreed with them. Anger and frustration give the illusion of power, and when life is hard, it is too easy to embrace them.
Well, one day, as Bartimaeus was sitting on the side of the road, he heard the clamor of a large crowd. From the murmurs and excitement around him, he gathered that something important was taking place. Someone famous was coming. It was Jesus, the Nazarene. He was coming. On that day something must have stirred in Bartimaeus. He had a choice. He could sit in defeat and wallow in cynicism and anger; his life, objectively, sucked. Or he could call out with everything he had in the hope that this Jesus would hear him.
That day, Bartimaeus chose hope. He cried out, “Jesus! Son of David have pity on me.”
Sadly, people don’t always rally around hope. In the case of Bartimaeus, the crowd tried to shut him down. “Be quiet,” they said. But Bartimaeus would not be quieted, and Jesus did hear him. Approaching Bartimaeus the people then said, “take courage; get up. He is calling you.”
I love that line. “Take courage; get up. He is calling you.”
I want that on the ceiling over my bed, so that it is the first thing I see each morning. Because some days, it does take courage to get up. Sometimes It takes courage to hope. It takes strength and resilience to let go of cynicism. Like Bartimaeus, you may be facing challenges in life. The reality is, things may have happened in the past that left you wounded. It is very likely that at some point you have failed. And Satan wants to name you all of those things. He wants to name you, failure. He wants to call you defeated. He wants you to believe you are broken beyond repair. But, he is a liar, and he always has been. None of those things are who you really are. You are beloved. You are chosen. You are a child of the living God. You are the light of the world, and that light is supposed to shine before all. Hope dwells within you, waiting for you to take courage, and get up.
That choice between hope and despair is a choice we all have to face. Sink into cynicism, or to reach out towards the Lord. As we read Bartimaeus story, we need to ask if we would have called out so strongly. We need to ask where have we let the voices of defeat or condemnation stop us from moving and we need to hear the call to take courage and get up. He is calling you. It’s time to respond to the call.
God, You see me. You see my weakness and my shame. You see my failure and my doubt. You see my sin and my anger. But, Lord, more than that, you see me. You see who you created me to be. You love me. Lord. I want to see. I want my eyes opened. I want to know what you see. I want to see it in the world, and I want to know what you see in me. I give you permission to expose the lies, and I ask you to show me any areas of agreement I have made with the evil one about reality, about my value, about your faithfulness, and I ask you to give me the strength and courage to break those agreements. God, I want to see. Heal me.
Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.