Cheer Up!



The day started out like every other day he could remember.  As soon as he felt the warm rays of the sun strike his face, he pulled himself up from his makeshift bed on the side of the road.  Thankfully, it hadn’t rained during the night and the temperatures were still manageable this time of the year.  Of course, this good fortune would change all too soon.

He shook the dust off his motley robe, took his cup and placed his last two coins in it.  “Alms for the poor?” he constantly pleaded, as he rattled the coins in his cup.

Thankfully, an occasional passerby would reward his begging with another small coin.  Maybe he would have enough by day’s end to buy some stale bread to temporarily appease the constant gnawing in his stomach.

He couldn’t help that he was poor, as no one would hire him to work.  After all, what kind of work could a blind man do?  It appeared painfully obvious to him and everyone else that his life’s work would amount to nothing but begging.

While hope was normally a thought that rarely crossed his mind, he had recently heard some amazing stories of sick people being healed, cripples walking, deaf hearing, and yes, even blind people seeing!  Not surprisingly, hope was not only crossing his mind these days, hope was blazing a major pathway through it!  Could this be the day he received infinitely more than a few coins; his sight, his life?

His dreams were interrupted when he heard a large crowd coming his way.  His curiosity piqued, he stopped begging for alms, and started begging for information.  Thankfully, a passerby had  mercy on him and responded, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”  Could it be true that Hope was within reach?  But how could he speak to Him since He was surrounded by such a large crowd?

He had no recourse but to shout above the noise of the crowd, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Unfortunately, some within the crowd heard him and rebuked him for his outburst and demanded he be quiet.  But they didn’t understand that this, no He, was his only hope for sight; for life!  So he shouted even louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Hope heard and Hope stopped!  Those who had just chided him for his annoying shouts, now encouraged him, “Cheer up!  He’s calling you!”  Bartimaeus threw off his cloak, jumped to his feet and felt his way to Hope.

He sensed His presence even before he heard His question, “What do you want me to do for you?”  They were unfamiliar words to him, yet more exhilarating than anyone could possibly imagine!  Trembling, knowing the audacity it took for a beggar to ask such a thing of a King, the words spilled out anyway, “I want to see.”

“Go,” He simply said, “your faith has healed you.”  Immediately, he saw Hope, and his life reborn!

Is Fairness Overrated?

young pilot with tie on plane               It wasn’t fair, but I was a late bloomer.  In other words, I was an easy target for cruel remarks in my younger years.  I’ll never forget the time our high school chorus teacher asked me to sing a few lines of a song we were working on.  She (naively) pointed out to all my (snickering) peers how fascinating it was that my voice hadn’t changed yet!  Sadly, she had no clue that I would be the brunt of many cruel jokes for weeks afterward.

The ridicule from my high school basketball teammates wasn’t fair either.  As a freshman, I started out as the scrawniest kid on the team.  Taking showers in the locker room with the older guys who had gone through puberty years ahead of me often brought condescending remarks.  I figured the best tactic to avoid the insults was to sneak out of the locker room after practice without taking a shower.  Unfortunately, my well-meaning (also naive) coach quickly put a stop to that!  He wasn’t about to have anyone on his team go home with body odor!

Fast forward several years after graduating from college.  I had a wife, a son, and was a licensed, experienced, and professional pilot.  I remember picking up one of my first air taxi clients only to hear something like, “Are you sure you are old enough to fly this airplane?”  I assured him that I was and was eventually able to prove my competency to his satisfaction.  Nonetheless, his sarcasm had taken its toll.

Fast forward several years later.  The embarrassing remarks had disappeared and some encouraging ones had begun to surface.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my previous pain had somehow turned into a present gain!  The flip side to all those old insults was new complements.  Interestingly, neither was deserved. Once again, it wasn’t fair; I had absolutely nothing to do with this characteristic of the way God had created me.

I have a suspicion that you may have at least a characteristic (or two) that you are not happy about and that you have no control over.  Right now you may have a hard time seeing the possibility of any silver lining behind the painful clouds swirling around your life.  For mysterious reasons beyond understanding, you may face more than your fair share of circumstances that appear unfair.

Do trials, especially the ones that you have no control over, indicate God is not in control, or that He doesn’t care?  I think not.  God not only has the ability to see silver linings you can’t, He can make them a reality.  All things work together for the good of those who love God.

Trying times are a fact of life.  We can complain that they aren’t fair and feel sorry for ourselves.  Or, we can cooperate with God as He does His refining work in our lives.  Let’s have confidence in the wisdom and goodness of our Heavenly Father.  One day the silver lining will appear.