Waiting, all day. Sometimes calling out when you heard people approaching, then slumping back against a wall or rock, and waiting some more.

Waiting, calling, begging. But most likely, mostly waiting. Waiting in utter darkness, even as you could feel the sun beating down on the body you couldn’t see.

Suddenly, Bartimaeus heard more than just the shuffling of passers-by. There was a commotion, and he learned that Jesus of Nazareth was going to be passing right by his spot by the road!  Maybe Jesus would heal him!

He had to get Christ's attention.

So he hollered out, calling on Jesus to have mercy on him. He made such a ruckus and racket, calling out so desperately, that people in the crowd, who had relegated him to the sidelines of life, sitting out of the way of normal people, told him to be quiet. 

Yet undoubtedly, this was just such an opportunity for which Bartimaeus would likely have never before dreamed. Maybe he'd spent his time waiting by the side of the road not only for enough money to make it through the day, but waiting for death itself. The commotion he himself causes in this passage creates the impression that he'd immediately realized this might be his one chance in his entire life to be healed from blindness - and he was frantically hoping to seize the moment.

Christ is the Creator of Perfect Timing 

Christ, of course, knew Bartimaeus was nearby on the roadside. And he stopped, calling Bartimaeus to Himself.

Quickly, the crowd changed its tune, turned to Bartimaeus, and said, "well, what do you know! You've gotten His attention, and He wants to talk to you."

As you can imagine, Bartimaeus didn't need any more urging. He jumped to his feet, likely needing to be steadied by people in the crowd who only moments before were telling him to shut up. He threw off his cloak, perhaps so fully assured that Christ would heal him, he'd be able to retrieve it after his miracle, and he could see where it had fallen.

And sure enough, Christ performed his miracle, based on his blunt, honest, earnest faith.

We Christians know this story because of Christ’s amazing ability to heal a blind man. And indeed, Christ’s power is the core of this miracle. How easy it is for us to overlook, however, the amount of time Bartimaeus had to spend waiting, and not even knowing what he was waiting for! Christ knew He was going to heal Bartimeaus, but the blind beggar himself had started his day as he had every other one, with the imminent restoration of his sight completely off his radar.

Christ knew what Bartimaeus needed, just like He knows what we need, whether we’re actively waiting for those needs, or not. Yet the emotional, spiritual, and mental blindnesses with which we suffer may still be things we have to wait through until God's appointed time, when our waiting will finally be over.

Waiting can only be true agony when you don't trust the Person for Whom you're waiting. 

May the Lord grant us the grace to wait as long as He would have us wait, and to wait with patience, hope, and even joy.

As the psalmist has so poignantly phrased it, Psalms 27:14. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!

From his smorgasboard of church experience, ranging from the Christian and Missionary Alliance to the Presbyterian Church in America, Tim Laitinen brings a range of observations to his perspective on how we Americans worship, fellowship, and minister among our communities of faith. As a one-time employee of a Bible church in suburban Fort Worth, Texas and a former volunteer director of the contemporary Christian music ministry at New York City's legendary Calvary Baptist, he's seen our church culture from the inside out. You can read about his unique viewpoints at o-l-i.blogspot.com.

Publication date: December 4, 2012