Have you ever felt desperate? A walk through hospital intensive care units reveals desperate people hoping for some respite in their need. Scattered throughout communities, desperate people hope against hope for some financial crisis to be remedied or a broken marriage to be mended or a wayward child to return safely home. Desperation is part of human existence. The size of one’s bank account or position in life doesn’t matter; desperation can dog anyone’s steps.
Bartimaeus had heard of Jesus and his miracles, and learning that he was passing by, hoped to recover his eyesight. In coming to Christ for help and healing, we should look to him as the promised Messiah. The gracious calls Christ gives us to come to him, encourage our hope, that if we come to him we shall have what we come for. – Matthew Henry
You are not alone.
You have hope.
You can get help.
Having expectations is important. Expecting something good is essential for a believing heart. Without it we will put restrictions on our hope. Bartimaeus – his cost for hoping in Jesus? – his beggar’s coat and all the money he had collected.
Instinctively, as if he is aware that his only hope is passing by.
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” – Mark 10:46-47
David prays and looks to God for help, especially when he is surrounded with enemies. In fact in Psalm 57, in the very first verse, he repeats the request twice because he is fully aware of how great the danger he is in, and not just twice but with intensity and those two things implied just how much hope and trust he had in God’s mercy.
His argument – God has helped me in my past distresses and that is why he has hope in his present situation.
David supports himself with faith and hope in God, and prayer to Him.
This is not to earn the mercy of God; mercy can’t be earned. He said it to tell God that He was David’s only hope. His soul trusted in God and nothing else; there was nothing else to trust in.
“How can the Lord be unmerciful to a trustful soul? Our faith does not deserve mercy, but it always wins it from the sovereign grace of God when it is sincere.” – Spurgeon
So what will I do – I too will put my life in God’s hand – my immortal spirit knows no other portion than God. Even when I need a speedy answer – immediate relief – I can expect the mercy and grace of God. My great act of faith is to only trust God in such circumstances – not just a profession of trust – but one that is sincere – all my heart and all my soul – and that makes a reason or argument for mercy seeing that His mercy encourages my faith and hope. I believe the Lord takes pleasure in those that hope and trust in Him.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by. I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.– Psalm 57:1-2
Jesus pretty much stayed in the boundaries of Israel, and even so, Israel hosted many travelers from other countries and neighbouring regions so that His fame went well past the physical boundaries of travel.
When He did travel to Tyre and Sidon, He did so for the direct purpose of finding rest, a place where they did not know Him. Unfortunately that rest did not come. The mother of a demoniac daughter was hoping that Jesus would come to her home and He had.
When she approached Jesus, He did not insult her nor was He insensitive in His rejection. He was both sensitive to her need as well as His desire to teach something to His disciples. He used well known household imagery in which to create an opportunity to lead the woman to a maturity in her faith, a more precise hope. He also was wanting the disciples to see their role and their privilege in ministering to a needy, faith-filled heart. For both her and the disciples He showed that the greater the test comes greater faith in God.
In asking for mercy for herself and healing for her daughter to the “son of David” she knew of the Jewish hope in the Messiah, as did the woman at Jacob’s well. She hoped for, and expected to share in that Messianic blessing.
Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. – Matthew 15:22-28
When the ten lepers were considering their approach to Jesus, it would seem by their cry for mercy, that they were filled with expectant faith. And when Jesus asked them to go and show themselves to the priests before He healed them, I believe they left Jesus with rising hopes and confidence. Knowing how we think, I wonder how long into their journey did they talk about looking foolish in front of the priests.
We are not told too much about how they responded or engaged in conversation after meeting Jesus. But when hope is on the line and there is absolutely nothing to lose, the tendency is that you will do what you have to do. Worse, when your self-talk goes from being silent and contained to being verbal and spoken out loud and that self-talk comes from an unhealthy source, you find ways to fail, to lose. One can only pray and hope that someone will stay focused and remind every one – “I don’t know, but we must obey.”
The only hope of healing is Jesus Christ and God’s mercy
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” – Luke 17:11-19
The Everlasting God
The Blessed (Hope) Confidence
NOTHING CAN BE DONE WITHOUT HOPE AND CONFIDENCE
The Eleven Major Differences That Hope and Confidence Create
Faith, Trust, Hope, Confidence, Love, Attitude. What’s the difference?
If I emphasize God’s mercy, I can emphasize my own sinfulness and in the same spirit, hoped for cleansing. It is not healthy to dwell on your own sinfulness, God takes it in His hand and for those of us who have sinned and have been forgiven know how much we appreciate His mercy.
Our times of crisis ultimately become our times of opportunity. As we commit ourselves to God, we find our faith in ourselves, in others and in God deepening.
Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us – Ephesians 3:20
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
Be strong, be courageous,
all you that hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. – Titus 2:11-14
Why would we reject God’s mercy, our only hope of salvation?
Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love – Psalm 33:18
Our hope is in the resurrected Jesus Christ.
But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief, that you may take it into your hands; the helpless commit themselves to you; you have been the helper of the orphan. – Psalm 10:14
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
BE STILL MY SOUL by Katharina A. von Schlegel
Music: Jean Sibelius
(Be Still My Soul by Selah)
(Violin version of Be Still My Soul)