The camp-out with Bartimaeus continues… The last sentence of the story is on my mind. “Immediately he regained his sight…”
It doesn’t seem that anything happens “immediately” in my relationship with God. I don’t get immediate answers to prayer, but instead often labor long and hard on my knees. I don’t see immediate changes in my bad habits, but rather, I tend go over and over the same ground. I don’t know immediately what I’m supposed to do when perplexed, but usually approach decision making in slow motion. Of course, while Jesus was on earth, he was time-bound. This encounter with Bart occurred just before Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world. If Bart was going to get healed, it was going to have to be right then and there.
Now, however, the Spirit of God has moved inside us, and there seems to be no hurry. He has all the time in the world, literally. I suppose that if all my prayers were answered immediately, then I would begin thinking of God as my go-fer and we would miss all those sweet hours together. If all my bad habits were dispelled in moments, I would become prideful in my perfection. If all my decisions were easily made, I would stop learning how to reason and discern.
So I accept the terms. Bart had his lucky day. Jesus heard his cry and healed him. But I have a blessed life. Jesus hears my every thought and is constantly and forever at work in me.
Did you catch that word in the last sentence of this passage? Regained. Bartimaeus regained his sight, so it says in the ASV (American Standard Version). So, it’s true that at one time Bart could see, but somehow lost his sight. He knew what he was missing and desperately wanted it back. Perhaps I’ve lost sight of something. Did I have better focus early in my journey with God on what it means to be a Christ follower? If I went back and read my journals from 35 years ago, when I was a new creation, would I be surprised at who I find? Lord, I want to see.