It was a crisp morning when I stood in this sunflower field last year at sunrise.
The darkness was lifting with a slight rustling of the wind.
There was a wild, breathless feeling in my lungs as the darkness vanished completely and the sun shone, peeking up from the rounded earth, scattering it's warmth and light over the thousands of sunflowers surrounding me.
And the sunflowers?
They faced that beautiful light.
It was if they knew...trusted...the light that beckoned them to it. As if they had no doubt the light would overcome the darkness. They turned to it as if, not only did they need the warmth of the light at the very base of their being, they desired to follow it.
The blind beggar, too (as we will explore), in his own darkness recognized and desired to trust the light he could not see but knew was there. Trusted that JESUS was that light. And the light would overcome his darkness.
Whatever darkness we are currently in, or may find ourselves in down the road, we too, can trust that the light always overcomes the darkness. We can turn our faces to the light that is Jesus, and step toward Him. Sometimes blindly at first, but assuradly, and then following exhuberantly and expectantly.
As always, I like to share Day One, of each FREE devotional series, here on the blog. I love the story of Bartimaeus. I hope Day one inspires you to read more about him and his story. It may be a short passage in the Bible, but there is so much we can learn about ourselves and about Jesus through this profound story....
The Passage:Mark 10:46
"Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means "son of Timaeus"), was sitting by the roadside begging.”
Did you know that to farmers who don't grow them, when sunflowers pop up in their fields, they are considered weeds?
Weeds....undesirable, "in the wrong place", according to humans- those things we need to "pluck" out of sight and that don't belong to the environment we want to create.
Sunflower "weeds" are somewhat similar to beggars in New Testament times. During the time of Bartimaeus, begging may have been prevalent due to a lack of medical science and impoverishment, but that doesn't mean it was accepted by society's standards. In fact, not only were beggars looked down on, they were despised by the other social classes. They were undesirable, and didn't fit in to the environment society wanted to create. Essentially, they were like the weeds of society.
Often, those who were blind, diseased, or crippled sat begging at places with high traffic such as corners of streets, gates of temples, city entrances, or even near houses of the rich.
And that's right where we find Bartimaeus.
On the roadside, near the exit of Jericho.
Probably in a fixed spot he was accustomed to and most likely not alone. In a city such as Jericho, I am sure he was not the only one begging as people came into and left the city.
I imagine him sitting there on the ground...in the dirt...dishevelved...in rags, unclean, smelly.
And in darkness despite the time of day.
Waiting until someone gave him what he needed....food, money.
He waited for people to fill his belly or his hands.
He waited for perhaps a coin or trinket to be tossed his way.
Sometimes this is us too, isn't it? We sit at the gates of life, or wait on a corner in the middle of our journey. Maybe not dishelved in our clothing, but dishelved in our hearts or our lives. Maybe looking well dressed and perfumed, but inside feeling unclean and dirty. Perhaps feeling like an outcast ourselves, unwanted, unloved.
And maybe just waiting for that one thing that will "fill" us up. That "coin" or piece of "bread" or jackpot, that we think will make everything better.... we wait for that job, that child, that spouse, that weight loss, that degree, that wardrobe, that house, that prestige, that popularity (the list goes on). And we wait. Hoping it will be tossed our way as we sit at the gates of life.
Waiting for that "thing" to make us acceptable to others, or that "thing" will make us satisfied; whole.
Often it is the root of these things we are truly seeking, waiting and begging for. Because the root most often is love, peace, provision.
All those that pass by and toss coins our way will never feed or fill the root of our begging and waiting.
But there is One who can fill us and give more than we could imagine, just like he did, as you will see, with Bartimaeus...
If you are feeling like an outcast today or have ever felt this way,
let me remind you.....
WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST
You are loved (John 3:16, Rom. 5:8)
You are forgiven (Col. 1:14)
You are a child of light (1 Thes. 5:5)
You are chosen (Col. 3:12)
You are Christ's friend (John 15:5)
You are a branch of the vine (John 15:1,5)
You are free (John 8:36)
You are God's coworker (2 Cor. 6:1)
You are God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
You are redeemed (Eph 1:7)
And you cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35)
Looking to dig a little deeper? Study the following passages on the compassion that Jesus and the disciples had for other beggars/blind men:
Choose one of the following verses. Write it down on a note card. Memorize it. Study it. Place it somewhere you will see it often.
1 John 2:11
God's Word is powerful. Watch how he will strengthen, lead, and convict you through this verse as you meditate on and memorize it!
I'd love to hear your thoughts or questions regarding today's devotional/study and welcome any prayer requests!
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The next devotional series, another Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas series, "Compass in the Sky" (a 5 day series) will be sent out in December!
Wife. Mother. Writer. Photographer. Child of God. Encouraging others in faith through a lens of grace and seeing beauty in the ashes.
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