Ever been stuck? Over the Christmas holiday, my family traveled to Missouri and stayed a night in my in-laws’ sweet little cabin in the woods before heading on into St. Louis. It rained a lot that night, and there’s no driveway. We got out okay but I managed to forget my wallet and had to run back for it, at which point I got seriously stuck… alone… in an all-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle.
(Notice the dog is laughing at me…)
At that moment, I had two choices. I could call Angie who could get a family member to get me unstuck, or I could try in vain for a half an hour to get out all by myself and ultimately dig in deeper and make my situation even worse. Of course, I chose the latter! Because I’m dumb like that.
The third time Angie called me asking if I wanted help, I finally said “Yes. Call your cousin.” And Don, with his awesome pickup truck and a tow rope pulled me out of the miry clay!
There was another guy in history who was rather deeply stuck once. His name was Bartimaeus. Every day, he sat on the side of the road begging. He couldn’t earn a living and had no friends or family. He had nowhere to go and nothing to do. And one day Jesus came along. Here’s the story…
Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Be quiet” many of the people yelled at him.
But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”
So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”
And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.
– Mark 10:46-52 NLT
This has to be one of the greatest getting-unstuck stories in history. Here’s a guy who has spent his entire life being stuck. And when he hears that Jesus is near, he acts. And I think he gives us some great direction for what to do when we’re stuck too.
Seize the moment.
When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was near, he politely and quietly tapped a few people on the shoulder to ask if they might mind notifying someone nearby who could possibly ask… No, wait… He shouted! He drew attention to himself like a drowning man flailing spiritually for all to see.
Tame your fear.
One of the biggest factors that keeps us stuck is our fear of the disapproval of others. I feel bad for Bartimaeus in the story because he gets shamed by the people nearby for shouting. So what does he do? He shouted louder! I wish I had that kind of faith all the time – to ignore the opinions of others and risk everything to have all of God in my life that I can get.
Announce your faith.
There comes a pretty sweet moment in the story in which Jesus asks a question with enormous significance… “What do you want?” We’re terrified of this question. What if I ask too much? What if I get rejected? But Bartimaeus names it outright: I want to see! And he expressed in that declaration the faith that Jesus was absolutely capable of restoring his sight.
Receive God’s grace.
It’s important to note that we don’t get ourselves unstuck by our own effort. As in the case of my muddy vehicle, our effort only leads to us digging in deeper. We absolutely must be rescued, and Jesus is the ultimate Rescuer. In fact, He is the One and only rescue from our biggest problem of all – sin. Bartimaeus was so moved by this moment of grace that he threw away his coat, jumped up, and got to Jesus as quickly as he could.
Take the next step.
I don’t think its an insignificant detail that when Bartimaeus received his sight, he immediately used it for the very best possible next step – he followed Jesus. I’m a firm believer that spiritual growth is a pathway. To be specific, it’s a winding pathway that never leads us straight to maturity in a flash. There are curves and obstacles and places where we can’t quite make out the path. But there’s always a next step.
It could be that you need to turn from sin and trust Jesus once and for all. It could be that you need to be baptized, make something right with someone, start getting your finances or physical health under control. Or it could be that you need to take the next step to get your career in order. Whatever it is, rebuke your fear and START now by faith!