In the Gospel reading, Mark 10:46-52, Jesus asks the blind man Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”
What a powerful question. Can you imagine being in Bartimaeus’ sandals? What would you have Jesus do for you? If you think about that question, and what you would ask for, it says a lot about your personal image of God.
“I would like my youth back.”
“I’d like to win the Powerball. Preferably when it approaches the billion-dollar mark!”
“Bring back a loved one.”
“Take away my pain, my disease, my struggles.”
“Stop the hatred, the wars and shootings, the bombings in the world.”
Blind Bartimaeus said to Jesus, “Master, I want to see.” And Jesus does restore his sight. “Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.”
So, why is it so rare that Jesus answers our prayers, by giving us exactly the things we ask for? After all, he did miraculous healings for numerous people in his three-year ministry. He even raised Lazarus from the dead after three days! And in our day, I suppose some people do have the winning lottery ticket after many prayers. Although that doesn’t always end up the way they intended.
It’s because the physical miracles were the means, not the end for Jesus.
Jesus didn’t come among us to be a side-show miracle worker. Remember, he usually told those healed, and the witnesses not to tell anyone about it. (Imagine keeping those miracles off of Facebook today!)
Jesus’ mission wasn’t to come to heal a select, lucky few and then leave us on our own. God doesn’t heal a select few around our world today, just for them. It’s for a broader message. Those physical miracles get our attention, but God wants to heal us spiritually, for eternity.
God wants us to spiritually see again, spiritually hear again, spiritually walk again in the light of his love. He wants us to live in the full freedom of his infinite love; not to be blind, deaf, and lame, spiritually.
Pain and suffering, chronic illness and despair are great obstacles to seeing and hearing and walking in this truth. But, if you put your faith in a God who is going to take away all of your difficulties first, so you can then enjoy peace in Him, you will most likely be greatly disappointed.
You are giving Jesus the wrong response to his question: “What do you want me to do for you?”