Last week, I procrastinated on a project that, should I have spread out over the course of a month, would have been a breeze. But, I saved it for the time span of about three days and rushed and stayed up all night and pushed through it just to finish it. I then spent the next three days of the week recovering AND trying to stay on top of everything else. Why? Why did I wait so long to get started? Why was I so persistent about my ability to get this really detail-oriented project complete in just a few days when I would have felt so much better had it been spread out?
My stubbornness served me well though, the project did get done. But the rest of the week was terrible. I was exhausted and nothing else was up to the standard I usually deliver. When used well, my persistence and stubbornness can be a gift. The act of having faith requires a constant state of persistence.
“Jesus son of David, have pity on me.”
Faith requires persistence. The persistence to keep believing when the crowd is louder like it was for Bartimaeus. The crowd surrounding Bartimaeus was not only loud but actively tried to silence him.
But Bartimaeus knew that his faith was stronger than the rebukes of the crowd. And he called out again.
“Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus heard him (Jesus likely heard him the first time, too!) and was moved by his cries. Bartimaeus’ persistent faith brought him face to faith with Jesus. When Jesus heard the blind man’s cries he told the disciples to “Call him.”
Going to him, the disciples reassured his persistence.
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
Take courage, your persistence paid off. Jesus is calling you, your faith has healed you.
What we see in the gospel is reassuring. When it feels like our cries are not being answered, Jesus hears us and calls to us. Our lament is answered in the constant call to follow Jesus.
Our lives don’t fit into the neat and tidy narrative construction of a parable though. Sometimes my persistence wanes as my lament stretches on. Sometimes I can’t feel my call to follow Jesus as easily as I have in other times. My persistence wanes when my relationships are stressed, or work gets really busy, or I’m being pulled in too many directions.
I want those words, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you” to be the alarm I wake up to every morning. To sound out to remind me that Jesus is calling me, constantly. To push me to remember that it takes action on my part too--even when I’m stressed and overwhelmed--to hear the call.