Walking the Market Place in downtown Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Central America, I was assaulted by the cacophony of sounds – horns honking, salsa music blaring, people laughing, shouting, and talking.
Trying to sort out the myriad of smells – diesel exhaust, fresh fruit, body odor, fresh flowers, perfume, spoiled garbage – was, at the same time, both nauseating and pleasant.
Taking in the visual panorama was the most challenging. My eyes were constantly shifting focus from the small details to the bigger mosaic of colors and shapes.
It seemed everyone in this city of a million people was squeezed into this two hundred yard-long stretch of narrow street. I kept my hand on the camera around my neck and repeatedly felt my back pocket with my other hand to be sure no one had stolen my wallet.
Turning a corner I saw him squatting outside a small wooden shed. He was small enough to be one of Santa’s elves, complete with white hair and beard. But his clothes bore no bright colors or sparkles. They wore the grime of numerous unwashed days.
His face continuously turned in the direction of the sound of people passing him by. The smile never left his creased, tanned face.
It took me a moment to realize what he was “selling.” The giveaway was in his upheld right hand – a shoe brush. He wanted people to pay him to shine their shoes.
I pointed him out to my companions. One of them, an optometrist, quietly and somberly said, “He’s blind.”
Handicapped by his blindness, this man could not rely upon government programs to help make a living. There were no special schools to help train him realize his full potential.
But yet he refused to be cast in the mold of a beggar.
I felt both pity and admiration for him, while remembering the adage, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
I was reminded of another blind man on a dusty road outside the ancient city of Jericho. Bartimaeus was his name.
He was a beggar. Relying upon the gifts of others to survive.
Did you ever play the “If a magic genie gave you three wishes, what would you wish for?” game?
Blind Bartimaeus has the experience of a lifetime because a real life “magic genie” appears on the stage of his life. And this “genie” is going to ask him the best question ever asked.
Jesus of Nazareth was leaving Jericho on the very road that Barimaeus was sitting beside. As soon as he heard that Jesus was passing close by, from out of his darkness he shouts, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stops. Hearing Bartimaeus cry out again, Jesus tells his associates to bring him to him.
Though blind, Bartimaeus, jumps to his feet and makes his way to Jesus.
Here comes the question: Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Do you hear how wide open that question is? This is Jesus, the son of God, asking the question. He really could have done anything (and everything) for Bartimaeus.
It’s the question of the ages! It’s the opportunity to play out the “what if” game.
In a voice filled with the pain of years of unmet wishes, and yet vibrant with new found hope, Bartimaeus says, “Teacher, I want to see!”
Though his answer is for deliverance from his physical darkness, he provides for all of mankind the answer we are all seeking.
Isn’t deliverance from spiritual darkness what we all want?
Don’t you want to see what God’s Will for you is?
Don’t you want to see what direction you need to take in complicated situations?
Don’t you want to see God’s hand in your life?
Are you unsure what to pray for? Let the simple words of a blind man from Jericho show you the way: “Lord, I want to see!”