There are times when I feel like I’m the only guy on the planet that gets distracted in his faith. Not walk away distracted, although I’ve been there before, but simply not seeing things clearly through the eyes of faith.
I’ll confess we have some folks in our extended family that are going through some pretty tough times: some physically, some financially, and some emotionally. The stuff I go through is nowhere near their predicaments. Nevertheless, I still get distracted. Perhaps it’s my tendency toward perfection, whatever that is, but I feel like there are times when my faith never measures up.
Today, as I was continuing through the Gospel of Mark, in Chapter 10 I was reading the story of the blind beggar Bartimaeus. As Jesus was leaving the city of Jericho, Bartimaeus sat on the roadside crying out “Son of David, have mercy on me.” The crowd kept trying to get him to shut up, but ol’ Bartimaeus cried out louder and longer – “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and called for the man to come to him. I suppose those folks who were hollering for Bartimaeus to shut up were now some of the ones needing to usher the blind man to Jesus.
Here’s the scene; We have a blind beggar standing in front of the Messiah. Jesus asked, “What is it that you want me to do for you?” Seems like a totally unnecessary question, but then again the man was both blind and a beggar. Perhaps he no longer wanted to be a beggar more than he wanted to see. But no, he responded, “I want to regain my sight.”
Ah, Bartimaeus wanted to regain his sight. Apparently, at one point in his life, Bartimaeus was not blind. Now I’m beginning to click with the story.
My mother in-law, a terrific woman, found herself slowly losing her eyesight do to a degenerative eye disease. Even as her sight was fading she told no one until it got to a point where she could no longer see to drive. She loved to drive – anywhere, anytime. As things progressed she became “officially” blind. She still functions very well, but misses a good many simple pleasures simply because she cannot see.
Figuratively speaking, I often find myself in a similar situation. There are times in my life when I can see just fine. My faith equips me both with direction and purpose. It seems I can handle any circumstance and make it through to the other side. Then, like Bartimaeus, or even my mother in-law, for whatever reason, I become blind. The eyes of faith no longer focus as before.
My blindness never seems to be an overnight thing, but a gradual process. Distractions that I didn’t recognize as distractions take their toll. Sometimes I’m not even aware of my inability to see until I find myself sitting on the roadside crying out “Son of David, have mercy on me! I want to regain my sight!”
I’d like to think I can always avoid distractions and keep my vision clear and focused. But I know better. Nevertheless, I’m certain if I can keep my eyes of faith focused on Jesus the distractions will be less and my vision will be fine. Besides, I’m not real comfortable sitting on the roadside.