Little Fanny Crosby was born in 1820 but just a few short weeks later she became very sick. A man, pretending to be a doctor, treated little Fanny by prescribing hot mustard poultices to be applied to her eyes. While her illness went away she ended up blind for the rest of her life. Despite her blindness Fanny became a poet and hymn writer. You may have sung some of her hymns because she is the author of “Blessed Assurance,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” and “To God Be the Glory”, just to name a few since she penned 9,000 hymns!
Fanny saw her blindness as a blessing and said that “the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”
This story came to mind when I was studying the blind man in Luke 18. Here we meet Bartimaeus (Mk 10:48), a man who was probably blind since birth. He was one of the outcasts, one of the unlovely, a poor man who was at the mercy of others.
One day he hears a commotion only find out that Jesus is walking close to where he is sitting. He had heard of Jesus and immediately calls out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (vs.38,39) Those who led the way told him to quiet but he called out even more desperately and more loudly than before… and Jesus stops.
We need to stop here for a moment and learn from this blind man. Kent Hughs says Bartimaeus was “full of blind sight” and it got him everything.
This world is filled with people who are blind, blind to their sin, to their destiny and to their helplessness and hopelessness.
“What a grace it is to see reality, even when what we see is unpleasant or grotesque. Because when we see what we are, when we cannot escape the truth, when we are surrounded by darkness and know it, we will begin to ask for the light.” (Hughes)
Helen Keller said, “Better to be blind and see with your heart, than to have two good eyes and see nothing.” So it was with the blind man, he knew he needed Jesus and only Jesus.
What about us? Do we see how deep our sins run and our need for forgiveness? Do we see our complete dependence on Jesus in every area of life? Do I realize that I can’t get through one day with Christ helping me control my tongue, my attitude, my thoughts and my actions and then, when I mess up do I realize how much grace and mercy I require and yet how I deserve none of it? Do we see Christ love?
This blind man is very much like the persistent widow which we studies earlier this week. He would not give up. He knew that in order to be healed, in order for his life to change he needed Jesus and he would not let him get away. He cried out and yelled no matter how many people told him to keep quiet. He shouted at the top of his lungs not caring that he was making a scene.
Hughes continues, “Spiritual blessings belong to those who “go for it.” Spiritual blessings do not go to the half hearted but to those who want them above all else. Helpless as he was, the blind man “went for it,” and God heard him.”
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Again we have to ask, “What about us?” Are we this desperate for Jesus? Do we know that we can’t make it through even one hour without his help, forgiveness and encouragement? Does this cause us to seek after him not matter what? Or, maybe you’re doing okay without Jesus in various parts of your life. If so, it explains a lack of desperation for the only one who has the words of life.
Jesus hears the blind man’s desperate shouts and gives him sight. Like Fanny Crosby the first thing this blind man ever saw were the perfectly kind eyes of his Saviour. Jesus loves to help those who seek him. Thousands of years have gone by and Jesus has not changed.
“Now in Heaven, he hears constant hosannas from the heavenly host and the Church. Yet he is constantly attentive to all our cries, even when a million of us beggars cry to him at the same time!” (Hughes)
Our pleas for help, mercy, compassion, healing, strength and provision is sweet to his ears and joy to his heart. So don’t ever be afraid to cry out to him for anything and everything and then trust that he will do what is best.
Looking to Jesus,