I have heard speakers declare, time and again, that the Christian life is not difficult; it is impossible. Many would think that the life of a believer is a walk in the park. At one point it was something I would love to believe – that problems would go away the moment I accept Christ. But it’s not. It’s a misconception. Christ never guaranteed convenience upon following Him.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. – Matthew 16:24
As I progressed in my walk with the Lord, this truth seemed to have become more and more of a reality. Discouragement in all forms would engage me – from ridicule to difficult circumstances; from VDP’s (Very Draining People) to dead silence and waiting to hear God’s voice. Often it becomes too difficult to bear, and I’d be tempted to become silent before God.
I wonder how the blind man, Bartimaeus, must have felt. I wonder how long has he been sitting by the roadside begging. It must’ve been daunting to the point of despair. It was probably even more discouraging when people around him tried to silence him upon knowing that Jesus was in Jericho. But he refused to be quieted down. His longing for Jesus was greater than his dispiriting state, and it could be that his longing for Christ was intensified by the crowd who told him to be quiet.
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” – Mark 10:48
His story didn’t mention loss of his sight. Maybe he was waiting all his life for a miracle. Some of us may not relate with his condition, but perhaps we could in Job’s case – losing everything God has given him. Yet he seems to have the same response in the midst of deep despair; in a state which one might be led to the realization of an absentee God.
Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, nor deep gloom which covers me – Job 23:17
Discouragements will come; they will happen, even to the best of us. It can happen to someone as ordinary as Bartimaeus, or to a man of God such as Job. But let us learn from these men; that faith is not and should not be waivered by circumstances. Like the blind man from Jericho, our discouragement ought to intensify our longing for God to reveal Himself. Like blameless and upright man who feared the Lord, let our yearning to find God be so great that it is unsilenced by any darkness veiling our faces. As his soul is downcast and disturbed, the psalmist who longs for God cries out despite the inability to feel His presence:
I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
– Psalm 42: 9-10
In our discouragement, let our cry to and for God be heard even more. Let our longing for the Lord be louder than the voices tempting us into silence.