Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
The blind man sits in dust alongside a well-traveled road, tracing his finger lazily beside him. Listening for the familiar sound of voices, he can tell by passing conversations if speakers are intelligent, educated, or perhaps rich. Still, it is often with the shuffling bare feet of the poor that coins land in his palm.
This time he hears many men coming, and they are discussing him.
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”
The beggar straightens defensively. He has heard accusations of sin all his life as no one can think of any other reason he was born without sight. The idea never made sense to him. He has lived a good life and his parents are kind.
A voice replied, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Spit.
“Oh, so he’s mocking me!” The blind man is about to retort when suddenly his face is grasped by the chin, and mud is pasted on his eyes.
“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam,” the stranger continues. Someone refers to him as Jesus.
Since a rabbi is doing the talking, spitting, and commanding, the mud-splattered beggar does as he is told. The water is cool and refreshing. Holding it in his hands, he dunks his face, enjoying the breeze. Then with a deep breath, he lifts his head, hands still over his eyes.
Wait. Something is different. Carefully lifting one finger, and then two, the astounded man literally cannot believe his eyes. What is this? The lake is brilliant . He has heard people call it blue. “Those must be trees—green,” he wonders aloud. “The path, brown.”
“Oh my! I could see my parents!” He takes off in an awkward run, counting his steps to know which way to turn. Landmarks mean nothing.
People whisper incredulously. “Is this the beggar who was born blind?”
Questioning continues as religious leaders want to know. “What happened? Who did it? Were you actually blind? Prove it!”
Jesus hears what is unfolding, finds the man, and asks, “Do you believe in me?”
Against all his upbringing, and deflating the tiniest hope of any mercy from the religious leaders, the former blind man calls Jesus “Lord,” and worships him.
We do not know anything else about this man. In fact, based on John 9:1-38, the account I have written above includes thoughts not detailed in scripture. In darkness his entire life, he must have wondered why. He never learned he would stand for all time as a testament to God’s sovereignty.
Blindness to hope and purpose has left many of us in the dark. We cannot always know how God is going to turn it to light. We do know to trust he has a plan.
As the old hymn* goes, “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er…”
In the darkest, most mind-boggling, helpless nights, it is indeed sweet to trust him even for the grace to trust him more.
Today’s Helpful Word
Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
*’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus written by Louisa M. R. Stead
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!