Everyone has to deal with difficulties in life. What we do during our hardships makes all the difference. Sometimes our own voices tell us we cannot make it while other times we let others dictate what we can or cannot do; whether we can make it or cannot make it. Jesus said that as long as we are in this world, we will go through challenges but the bible also says, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I chose to encourage you today. You should never allow anyone or anything to stop you from achieving your dreams.
In Matthew 20:29-34, Jesus was going out of Jericho headed to Jerusalem. His was taking his final journey called the triumphant entry. He was headed to the cross. A great number of people followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the side of the road. As they were talking or begging, they heard that Jesus was passing by. They cried out to him, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David.” The people told them to be quiet and stop crying out. The more they were told to be quiet, the more they raised their voice and cried out, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David.” Jesus stood and asked them what they wanted him to do for them. They asked him to open their eyes. Jesus was moved with compassion and touched their eyes and immediately, they received their sight.
Unlike most of us if not all of us, Jesus is different. Jesus at this time knew he was on his way to be crucified. He knew exactly what was going to happen and when it was gong to happen. He was aware how he would suffer for the sake of human kind. He knew the pain he was going to experience. He knew He was the Servant talked about in Isaiah 52:13-15 and Isaiah 53. Can you imagine walking around knowing all the hardships you are going to go through? You, just like me would be so preoccupied with our impending doom. Not Jesus. Thank God for Jesus. Even though He knew what was going to happen to Him, he took the time to stop and heal two blind men who needed him.
The two blind men were in a situation that forced them to become beggars. The bible does not say how long they had been in this condition nevertheless it was a physical hardship. I can imagine they sat together because they both knew what they were going through. Others would not understand but they understood each other well.
Sometimes when you are going through a situation, it helps to talk to someone else who is going through the same situation. Both of you can be a source of encouragement to one another.
According to research, vision is an important sense therefore a huge portion of the brain is devoted to visual processing. In unsighted people, or people who cannot see, the brain rewires itself to connect to regions that deal with the hearing sense. This increases the capacity to hear. These two men had an enhanced sense of hearing. This is why, even if there was a large crowd moving along with Jesus, without seeing, they heard. They knew their time of healing had come. What are some of the challenges people with visual impairment experience?
- Environmental challenges. They have a difficult time navigating outside the spaces they are familiar with. They have to memorize the location of items in the home. Many years ago, I visited a lady who had a son who was visually impaired. He was a teenager at the time. He sat on his own comfortable seat. When it was time to eat, he would get up and go the dining room all by himself. After he ate, he would go back to his chair. He was able to take himself to the rest room and when it was time to brush his teeth, he walked up the stairs, went into the bathroom, brushed his teeth, changed into his pajamas and went to sleep. I was so surprised although I have to tell you I made many trips to the bathroom because I could not contain myself. I think I finished the tissues in this home for real.
- Social challenges. There are certain activities a blind person cannot participate in. Blindness also impacts a person’s ability to perform many job functions therefore limiting career choices. This may affect their self-esteem and finances. They also have to rely on others for help in different areas of their lives.
Before I continue with the lessons from the two blind men, let me talk about two other men who have made their own impact in this world even though they had to deal with visual impairment; Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.
He was not born blind but lost his sight at seven years old. His mother made sure he did not stop doing like chopping wood even though he was blind. When neighbors complained, his mother said her son was blind not stupid. At the age of 15 Ray became an orphan. This was not easy but he did not give up. He continued his education and a number of years later, he recorded his first record. He later formed his own record label. He has achieved many award including eight honorary doctoral degrees, seventeen Grammys, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, President’s Merit Award among many others. He was chosen by the King and Queen of Sweden to receive the country’s most prestigious award; The Polar Music Award.
He was born two months premature. He lost his sight due to an excess oxygen in the incubator where he had been placed. He has many first. He was the youngest person to have reached the number 1 spot when at age thirteen his single and album with the first live recording topped the charts at number 1. In early 1970’s he pioneered the use of synthesizers, incorporating electronic sounds with acoustic. He was the first black person to win Grammy for the best album of the year which he did in 1973. He has won over 24 Grammys and has been awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He holds an Academy and Golden Globe award for his soundtracks to movies. He is the youngest person to receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Music by the US Library of Congress. Behind the music scenes, he is involved in humanitarian activities and has held his House Full of Toys annual charity concert since 1995 to raise funds for underprivileged children during the Christmas season. Currently, he is a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
Whatever challenging situations we find ourselves in, we have to learn to look at them as blessings in disguise.
As I read about this two men, it occurred to me that sometimes I have limited myself in many ways. And I ought to say that if these two men could make it and not only make it but be completely successful and make such an impact, then I can. With the gifts that God has put in me, I cannot have any excuse for not accomplish my purpose on earth. Now, back to the two blind me.
The two blind men had a condition that caused limitation in their lives. Sometimes we deal with situations that cause certain kinds of limitations. It could be a sick child, a bad marriage, domestic violence or a bad past and many other situations that cause us not to reach our full potential. Conditions that cause us not live but merely survive. The two men would not have wish their situation away. However they did not sit at home waiting for their dying day. They were out there in the streets.
One of the enemy’s tools of destruction is to isolate so as to destroy us. When you are going through a tough season, do not disconnect yourself from others. You need people around you to encourage and pray with and for you.
As they were sitting on the road, they heard Jesus was passing by and they decided to cry out. “Have mercy on us O Lord Son of David! A few points I would like to make.
- They did not care who was around. Sometimes we don’t want to cry to God because we are very concerned about others. What will they think or what will they say about us.
- Even though they were physically blind, the eye of their mind was enlightened concerning the truth. They knew He was the Son of David. They confessed Jesus as Lord. They knew He had the authority to command healing. Are you calling on Jesus over your situation? Who is He to you? Do you believe if you ask Him to intervene he will? Because I believe He will. Isaiah 61 says that he came to bring good news to the humble and afflicted, to heal the broken hearted, to give freedom to prisoners and to comfort all who mourn.
- They did not let the opportunity pass by. Jesus never went to Jericho again. Imagine if they had decided to wait until the next time he came by, who knows when they would have received their healing. They did not have plan B? Sometimes our plan B’s are paths we create for ourselves that compromise our relationship with Jesus because we have to get out of a difficulty. The problem with creating paths for ourselves is sooner or later, we will fall into the trap of the enemy. Take the opportunity you have now and call on Jesus. He will strengthen you. He knows what you are going through is not easy.
- They knew what they needed from Him. They never asked Jesus for money even though they were poor. They realized that He is the only one who can take care of the very one need they had that no one else would take care of. It is important to look ahead. I will never forget one day when I was praying for a certain need. And the Holy Spirit taught me a great lesson that day. He revealed to me that I was not praying for the right thing. I was praying for something that would only solve a very small part of my problem. I needed to see far. Jesus giving them money would only have solved their need for that day or even that week. But Jesus giving them sight solved the problem that limited their ability to make a living for themselves. The bible states that “Jesus stood still and called them.” He asked them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They asked him to open their eyes and He had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they started to see. Even today, when we ask, Jesus is moved by compassion and meets us at our point of need.
When the men first cried “have mercy on us,” the multitude tried to silence them but instead of keeping quiet, they cried even louder. The crowd had no clue what the blind men were going through. They had not experienced the difficulty of being blind and being reduced to a beggar’s state. So when they were saying shhhhh, they did not realize they were trying to shut two men up who were desperate for a touch from Jesus. Never allow anyone to stop you from crying to Jehovah. As long as someone has never walked neither wore your shoes, they do not know what you are going through. Do not allow self-pity or self-hatred become part of your mindset. You are of great value in the eyes of God. Do not allow anyone to condemn you; to tell you that you are the way you are or you are going through difficulty because of something you did. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Do not allow anyone to stop you from calling on God. Even the one who are so good at giving plan B. The two men did not even think twice when they were told to be quiet. The louder the voice of those silencing you gets, the louder you become. Be persistent. The men received their sight because they did not let anyone or anything stop them from crying to the one man who would change their situation. Jesus.
Maybe you are in a situation that you have been going through for years. Do not give up because in His time, He will come through. Your test will become a testimony that will not only glorify God but will encourage many. Do not give up. He is faithful.