Holy Desperation – Part 1

Posted: September 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | 1 Comment »

I want to share something that I feel is missing in my own life and maybe you can relate: holy desperation. You may be thinking “What is that?” and don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a little bit. I recently heard a pastor preaching and he mentioned the story of a blind man named Bartimaeus (which I will refer to as Bart), and this thought of holy desperation really hit me.

I looked at how Webster defines these words and have arrived at the following definition for holy desperation: it is the extreme need of being entirely devoted to the perfect and righteous work of God in an intense way, even though it may be extremely dangerous.

Hold onto that thought, now for Bart’s story found in Mark 10:46-52. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just read through the Bible, I have to look at the stories as though I were there. I encourage you to read this in the Bible, but my rendition is pretty close with a little poetic justice thrown in.

Enter Bart, a middle-aged man blind from birth with no hope of laser surgery or any other means of being able to see. He sits on the same road every day sweating in the sand just hoping that someone will come by and drop a few coins in his basket so that he can buy some food when the local matzo ball vendor walks by. He has lived his entire life dreaming of what a tree looks like, of seeing the bird in the tree that sings the sweet melody he hears every morning. Oh to see the tears that fall down the face of his loving mother when she stops by to see how her beloved Bart is doing, as she blames herself for his condition. To see the sun that brings the warmth of day and the moon the coolness of night.

He can’t help but hear the story’s that are being told by the locals of this guy named Jesus that has been confounding the priests in the temple since He was twelve, who is healing people who couldn’t walk and raising people from the dead. Bart knows that this Jesus must be the Messiah, the Son of God come to save Israel.

There is no doubt in his mind this man could heal him too if only… suddenly he hears a man say, “I think that’s them! Yes, it’s Jesus and His disciples coming from Jericho!”

Bart knows that Jesus has the power to heal his blindness and this will probably be his only chance; he has to get Jesus’ attention. Not knowing exactly where Jesus is coming from he begins to scream in every direction, “Jesus! Jesus! Have mercy on me!” Seeing that he is making a scene, many of the people who are starting to gather scold him and tell him to be quiet. A few are quite harsh and threaten him, but Bart can hear the crowd getting closer. Desperate, he won’t allow anything to stop him from at least being heard so standing, he begins screaming even louder, “JESUS! JESUS! HAVE MERCY ON ME!”

This time Jesus hears him and stops. The crowd quiets to hear any words that might fall from Jesus’ lips. “Bring him to me” is all He says, and that is more than enough for Bart. He jumps and throws off his tunic (so that he doesn’t trip over it) and runs in the direction of those precious words, stumbling several times along the way.

Now face to face with Bart, Jesus asks, “What do you want?”

“Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go, you’re faith has healed you.” Jesus replies and instantly Bart’s sight is restored and from that moment He follows Jesus down the road. He doesn’t stop to tell anyone or even to gather his possessions, he just follows.

Bart had holy desperation and we need it. We must reach down to the place inside us where we find the extreme need of being entirely devoted to the perfect and righteous work of God in an intense way, even though it may be unpopular or extremely dangerous.

(Part 2 tomorrow!)


  • Hannah Hayner

    i love this!!! brought tears to my eyes! so true, we all need to be like this for Jesus!!! and i liked your descriptiveness and how you helped your readers visualize the whole thing!