This past winter I re-read ” The Creative Call”- by Janice Elsheimer.
In the second chapter she writes of the exercise of listening , and being co-creator’s with God. Elsheimer lifts a proverb in this chapter: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).
As I reflected on this little verse I remembered the question Jesus asked of the blind beggar in Luke chapter 18: 35-43:
“As He (Jesus) drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, TELLING HIM TO BE SILENT. But he cried out ALL THE MORE, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus STOPPED and COMMANDED him to be brought TO HIM. And when he came near, He asked him, “What do you want me to do for you? He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your FAITH has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and FOLLOWED HIM, GLORIFYING GOD. And all the people, when they saw it , gave PRAISE to GOD.”
Another question emerged into my curious mind; If proverbs speaks of hope deferred bringing sickness to the heart (perhaps not literal sickness but rather a felt heaviness or sorrow), and longings realized bringing life ( like that seen in a tree), then would it not be accurate to conclude that the longings and desires of the heart are intended to be met with the question of God?
“What do you want me to do for you?”
How would YOU answer this question today?
I sat for hours attempting to answer this heart probing question! It played my nerves like Beethoven’s fifth! I may as well been sitting in a confessional booth ADMITTING not only to myself, but also to my hearer, a sacred secret from my most “secretest” place…..Do I really have to answer this question?
The deeper truth was that I was AFRAID to answer, afraid of its power and implications. I knew it would wreck me with responsibility to act with purpose and intention over its discovery. Despite my merry-go-round of ‘buts’ and blaming and shrinking back I could find no escape to its probing sword awaiting an answer from MY heart and from MY lips.
This time I knew there would be no avenging foe of silencing, I would have to stand up against every bully, whether imagined or real.
The question again:”What do you want me to do for YOU?”
What keeps you from answering the call of this question?
Clearly the blind man’s answer came because of his faith, he knew what he wanted, and because God knew others would discover Him through glory given.
It is worth noting that the longing in the blind man’s heart was met with bullying voices attempting to SILENCE him. What if the beggar had listened? What if he shrunk back into vows of silence to appease the crowd?
I marvel today at the tenacity of his courageous heart; “But he cried out ALL THE MORE!” (Way to go beggar boy, you are now one of my heroes!). He would not be silenced, he KNEW what he wanted, and he answered the question without hesitation.
The blind beggar had asked the question of WHO it was that was passing him by, I believe his crying out was a RESULT of his existing faith in the power of Jesus TO SAVE HIM, to answer the cry of his heart! He did not have sight, but he had been given ears and a voice (Perhaps he had an advantage over the rest of us?) His faith was not built on vision but on what he knew to be true of Jesus.
Matthew Henry comments on our initial verse today (Proverbs 13:19); “There are in man strong desires of happiness; God provided for the accomplishment of those desires, that they would be sweet to the soul…”
Henry’s comment on Jesus’ question: “the prayer of faith, guided by Christ’s encouraging promises, and grounded on them, shall not be in vain; nay, it shall not only receive an answer of peace, but of honour (vs.42); Christ said, “receive thy sight, thy faith has saved thee. True faith will produce fervency in prayer, and both together will fetch in abundance of the fruits of Christ’s favor..”
Place yourself within the life of the blind beggar….. What has left you blind and begging?
Your Savior Jesus walks by you and asks the question; “What do you want me to do for you?”
How would you answer?
How will you answer?
May God give you courage to ask, and may He give you the courage to act.