By Melanie Rigney
When the blind beggar Bartimaeus heard that the teacher everyone was talking about was coming, his expectations were low: pity, and perhaps a coin or two, the same things he got from everyone else. It took Jesus calling on Bartimaeus directly for him to say out loud what he so wanted but had stuffed down inside himself as impossible:
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” (Mark 10:51, NAB)
The Lord’s healing can come in many forms: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, and it’s not unusual for us to need a nudge to ask. In hindsight, Bartimaeus’s story reminds me of a retinal detachment I suffered ten years ago this month as the train my sister and I were on pulled into Istanbul. I’d had some issues earlier, but my ophthalmologist hadn’t been concerned. He was also less than helpful when I called him from Istanbul; when I got home and made a beeline to his office, he didn’t even check my chart in advance to see which eye was involved.
He sent me to a retina specialist, then waited more than a week to call me to see how the reattachment had gone. By then I was so angry that I hung up on him. He then accused the specialist of alienating me from him, and I wrote a letter outlining the ways in which he had accomplished that himself.
A second surgery improved my vision in that eye to 20/20, which it hadn’t been for decades. The specialist gave all the credit to my prayer group. “It was hard,” I said at the end of a routine follow up in spring 2010, “but with the way my vision is today, having my retina detach was a real blessing.”
The specialist smiled. “This is Lent for you, right? When Catholics seek and give forgiveness?” I knew what would come next, and swallowed hard. “Well, yes.” “Maybe it’s time for you to write another letter,” he said.
I decided he was right. I wrote the ophthalmologist a letter of forgiveness and mailed it. I never heard from him, but that didn’t really matter. Like Bartimaeus, I had expected one type of assistance, and was encouraged to find the faith and trust to ask for—and in turn offer—assistance that was far more profound.
Where are you asking for something less important than the Lord is trying to offer you? Pray for the faith to see.
About the author:
Melanie Rigney works at seeing the Lord’s presence in her life at all times. She is the author of a forthcoming book on Proverbs 31, tentatively titled Finding Your Woman of Women. She lives in Arlington, VA. Check her out at www.melanierigney.com.