Sowing and Reaping Articles

Why Bother Asking, Anyhow?

By Larry Guido

Not all illnesses have signs and symptoms that are obvious. There are some illnesses, however, that are more visible than others. Blindness is one of them. Individuals who have serious problems with their vision usually need to depend on others to guide and guard them as they travel through life. 

Mark’s Gospel has an interesting story about a blind man. As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd was following them. Bartimaeus, the blind man in the story, was sitting by the side of the road begging. As Jesus approached he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He not only knew about Jesus as a person but recognized Him as the “Son of David.”

“Quiet,” roared the crowd, as they rebuked him. But, he would not be silenced and shouted even louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him!” So they did. And, Bartimaeus got so excited he threw off his cloak, jumped to his feet, and ran to Jesus. 

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. 

“Rabbi,” Bartimaeus said, “I want to see!”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you!” And he immediately received his sight and followed Jesus along with the others in the crowd. 

I find it intriguing that Jesus, the One who saw the sordid past of the woman at the well, gave her what she needed without her specifically asking for His help.  Why, in this instance, were things different?  Why did he not simply ask, “What do you want?” What’s different about Bartimaeus? 

Because Jesus wanted to teach Bartimaeus, and us, a critical lesson: It’s important for Christians to ask for help! Especially, God’s help.  

We wrongly assume that God will meet our needs without our even asking Him to do so. It’s almost a way of life for many, if not most, Christians. “Why bother to take time, in prayer, to bother about such trivial things when He knows us and our needs? So, we tend to develop a “why bother to ask” attitude toward the Lord. We think, “Well if He knows everything about me, especially my needs, why does He not do something about them – especially if He truly loves me? Why must I ask?” 

No doubt it is because He wants us to admit – to Him as well as to ourselves and others – our need for and dependence upon Him for everything. Asking reveals our vulnerability, our insufficiencies, our inadequacies, our shortcomings, our need for Him to be present and available to protect us, to provide for us, and to empower us to live the life He has called us to live. 

Consider, also, what James said, “You have not because you do not ask God,” and the words of Jesus, as well, when He said, “Everyone who asks receives.” (James 4:2; Matthew 7:8) Many of the teachings of Jesus are not only about asking, but about being persistent, consistent, specific, bold, and honest. “What do you want” left no doubt that Jesus expected His followers to “say what you want!”

There is one interesting segment in this story that is often overlooked. “Many rebuked him and asked him to be silent.” And, no doubt the disciples were among that group. But, it didn’t matter to Bartimaeus. He persisted, and continued shouting, and God heard him and blessed him and healed him. 

Is it “I have not because I do not ask God?” or is it “I have asked faithfully and persistently until I have received abundantly.”