“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. - Mark 10:51-52
At the beginning of the story of "Blind Bartimaeus," it says that Jesus and his disciples arrive at Jericho. Do you remember the story of Jericho from the Old Testament? It's the one where the Israelites have to march around the walled city for 7 days and then blow their trumpets as loud as they can. This seems like a crazy way to defeat an enemy city, but they believe God will do what God says, and the walls come crumbling down. And now, hundreds of years later, Jesus arrives at Jericho and encounters a blind man who just won't be quiet. Coincidence?
Sometimes when we pray we can feel like a broken record. We can ask for the same things over and over and over again: "God, change my heart," "Lord, heal my family," "Jesus, we need you." But as Blind Bartimaeus (and the parable of the persistent Widow and many other stories in scripture) teaches us, having the gumption - the stubborn faith - to keep asking despite others telling us to be quiet is something that God welcomes, even honors.
But it's interesting that, right after the story of a noisy blind man whose faith in Jesus was so true that it healed his physical eyes, Mark begins another noisy story.
In this noisy story, the people shouting "HOSANNA" have eyes that work, they can physically see Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem, but they don't have "eyes to see." They don't "see" that Jesus is coming to defeat death instead of defeating Roman oppressors. And in the coming week, they will all abandon Jesus for being a different kind of king, a different kind of savior, than they all wanted.
So, sometimes our noise is just that - noise - and we need God's help to discern where our hearts really are. Sometimes we're relentlessly praying for things that are selfish or even just shortsighted. Yet even when we get it wrong, Jesus still welcomes us back, Jesus still wants us to call after Him over and over and over again: "Lord, change us," "Lord, help us see," "Lord, make us new."
Dear Jesus, we thank you for loving us enough to keep listening even when we ask for things that aren't of you. We also thank you for working to change our hearts and minds toward the good, even when we don't realize they need to be changed. Give us wisdom in this life, and help us to see the world and the people around us the way you do. In your name, Amen.