Vision: 1. Sight. 2. The act or power of being able to see with the eyes. 3. The act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be (such as a prophetic vision).
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
I know a sermon is good when three days after hearing it I can still remember who preached!
I know a sermon is very good when three days later I can still remember the main points!
I know a sermon is
very, very good, excellent, impacting, profound when for the past three days the Holy Spirit has been prompting me to answer the question that He asked:
“What do you want Me to do for you?”
On Sunday morning at church the pastor told the story of the blind beggar Bartimaeus, found in Mark 10:46-52. It was a message that made me stop and think. And I haven’t stopped thinking about it since!
“As Jesus and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city of Jericho, a blind man, called Bartimaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, have pity and mercy on me now!’ Many in the crowd rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more and called out even louder. And Jesus stopped in this tracks and said to the disciples, ‘Call him. Tell him to come to me.’ So the disciples called to the blind man, telling him, ‘Take courage! Get up on your feet! He is calling you!’Throwing off his cloak Bartimaeus leaped to his feet at once and came to Jesus. Jesus then asked him: ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ And Bartimaeus said, ‘I want to see’.”
As the pastor preached morning I realised that if Jesus called out to me to come to Him right then and there, and if He asked me the question: “What do you want Me to do for you”, I didn’t know what my answer would be!
This totally staggers me because for three long years I knew the answer to this question. I could have answered this question before He had even finished asking it! Sure, it probably looked a little different each day, but basically, for three long years I sat, by the side of the road, blindly begging God:
- I want a miracle
- I want a job for Tim
- I want to know that You can hear me
- I want money to pay the bills
- I want to know that You care
- I want financial security
- I want to know that You’re there
Somewhere along the way during those three years I got to a point where I didn’t even believe He would walk past me and ask me this question. I got to a point that I no longer heard His voice. I got to the point that I almost lost my faith.
And that is what the pastor was talking about on Sunday.
The enemy wanted to rob me from hearing God’s voice because when I no longer thought I could hear Him calling out to me to come to Him, I was in danger of losing my faith.
But thankfully, even in my darkest moments, when I felt totally blind and lost, I made a decision. I sought help. I made a choice. It was my turn. My day. Time for me to stop being a beggar. Time for me to encounter God again. Time for God to encounter ME. And I turned my face towards a God that I could not see and I inclined my ear towards a God that I could not hear and I desperately hoped and prayed that I would hear His voice calling out to me from the crowd. I reached out. I cried out. I refused to let the crowd quieten me down. Even when I went forward for prayer and no-one prayed for me, I shouted. I called out. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus, please don’t pass me by.
And in the midst of all the noise from the crowd, He heard me.
And He said: “Come here to me.”
Then I did what Blind Bartimaeus did. I removed my “cloak”. I took off the heavy cloak of depression and despair and discouragement and disappointment and I threw it to the ground. I removed the things that had identified me for three long years.
I removed the failures. I removed the fears. I removed the doubts. I removed the depression. I removed the anxiety. I removed the worry. I removed everything that had been holding me back from trusting in God once more because I no longer wanted to be identified with the things I had worn for the past three years.
Just like Bartimaeus, I leapt up and took that first blind step towards the voice of God that was calling out to me, I felt as though I’d stepped into an abyss. Ps Russell called it the “valley of decision – the place of faith – the step from the past into the future.” The place where there is ‘safety’ on one side but vision on the other!
A frightening place.
Do I keep walking? Do I turn back?
I couldn’t see where I was going but that’s the thing about faith! You have to hear first before you can see!
The Bible says “faith comes by hearing“, not by seeing.
So I stood, feeling naked without my cloak of doubt and disappointment and discouragement and despair, in the middle of the valley and I waited.
And God said: “Nicki, what do you want Me to do.”
He already knew of course! But He
wanted me needed me to humble myself and be desperate enough to say “I can’t do this on my own. I need You. I want to believe in You again. I want to be healed. I want to see You.”
And then faith kicked in and opened up my eyes and almost instantly I saw Him.
I was no longer a beggar.
I was no longer blind.
I was on the other side.
I was in a new place.
On Sunday morning I heard God ask: What do you want Me to do for you?
It’s taken me three days, but I have an answer.
I want to see.
And I want to be closer to You.
“Open my eyes“
Saviour of my soul
I worship You as God alone
Greater love has made a way to You
I could not forget
The moment I in faith confessed
For my sin You died and rose again
I believe every word You say
Father God with all my heart I sing
Open my eyes
I want to see Your glory Your glory Lord
I open my heart
I want to be closer, closer to You
Here I am again
I find my strength in drawing near
You have heard the desperate cry in me
And as I wait on You my God
I’ll know the voice of truth
In quietness I am in awe
And as I worship You my Lord
I understand the cross
The sacrifice of God