Christianity · prayer · Spirituality · Uncategorized

What do you want me to do for you?


“What do you want me to do for you?”

Jesus asks this of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, who is sitting by the side of the road, shouting “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10: 46-52) The disciples are trying to get him to shut up, but Jesus stops in the middle of the crowd and says, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus answers simply, “Rabbi, I want to see.” And Jesus tells him, “Go, your faith has healed you.” In the blink of an eye, Bartimaeus can see, and joins the crowd following Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Earlier in the chapter, Jesus offers the same question to James and John, but with a different outcome. These Sons of Thunder don’t ask Jesus, they tell him, “We want you to do for us whatever we ask.” (Mark 10:35). Their mother makes the request in Matthew’s version. Jesus practically rolls his eyes as he patiently says, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Their request is simple also – make us more important than the other disciples by giving us the most prestigious seats in heaven. Jesus responds, “You have no idea what you are asking,” and then goes on to tell them that those decisions are not up to him, but to the main guy, God. They leave unhappy and now the other disciples are mad.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Imagine Jesus looking into your eyes with love and compassion and asking you this question. What would be your answer?


My requests would be pretty selfish – I have several situations in my life I would love to see changed. Then I feel guilty – surely I shouldn’t be asking God to fix my problems. But look at Bartimaeus – he asked for the most basic need he had and Jesus healed him, no questions asked. 

So why didn’t He grant the request of James and John? 

Perhaps Jesus knew that their desire to sit by Him in glory was covering up deeper insecurities. Maybe if James and John had come to Jesus and said, “We don’t feel loved and appreciated by you. Our mother is driving us crazy. The other disciples look down their noses at us because we are young. We get so mad at them that we blow up, and then everything is worse,” maybe then Jesus could have met their need, shown his love for them, calmed their mother down, worked on the other disciples to treat them better. Maybe when they realized how much He loved them and how special they were to Him, they wouldn’t have been worried about their place in heaven and would have been more compassionate towards the throngs that followed after them. Maybe they would have gotten along better with the other disciples. Maybe their mother would have relaxed and quit worrying about her sons’ status.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

  

Jesus doesn’t say yes to all of our questions and requests. But when we are honest about what we are feeling and strip away the jealousies, anger, and hurt feelings, He meets our needs. He has not promised to give us everything we ask, but He has promised never to leave us alone. And He is infinitely patient with us along the way.  


Christianity · cross country · Gardening · prayer · Spirituality · Uncategorized

Just Like Moses

God spoke to Moses through a burning bush and this week He spoke to me  through a gaura plant.


I bought the gaura last spring when I went to the plant sale at Northwest High. I had bought some pepper and tomato plants and a few flowers and then picked up a cup with a little mound of purplish spikes. “I’m not going to charge you for that,” said the AG teacher. “We’re experimenting with it and I’m not sure how it is going to do.” Since I love to experiment in my garden, I took it home and planted it by my rock wall.  Over the summer it grew into a little bush with green leaves and was okay, but nothing great. As August dragged on I started thinking that it was getting kind of dull looking and maybe I needed to cut it back. It wasn’t speaking to me yet.


The gaura early in the summer, on the left.

So last Sunday I felt heavy – not physically, but emotionally, spiritually. It was one of those mornings when I would have liked to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. I was feeling the weight of too much to do, trying to finish up some painting at home, planning for my first cross country meet, behind on things at school, but it was more than that, a deep tiredness in my soul.

Little wonder that instead of taking time to pray and read my Bible that morning I had balanced my checkbook and paid bills. When I get busy, God often gets pushed to the side. So when the sermon was on prayer I knew that I was tired in my soul because I had been cutting myself off from my power supply.

Monday morning I got up early and for the first time in a while spent a good long time with The Lord. I read my devotional and tried to be still and listen. I apologized for putting Him to the side and prayed to see Him, to be reassured that He was there and that I was walking in the path I needed to. Then I prayed individually for each of the 48 middle schoolers on my cross country team. 

The heaviness left me and I felt calm and at peace that day. 

All week I kept looking for God to show Himself and He did, in little ways. This will sound silly, but I found  a pair of earrings I had lost a week ago during practice. I had prayed about those earrings, a favorite pair given to me as a gift, and they turned up on the cement picnic table at our walking trail at school, having survived monsoonal rains for a week. I felt God was saying, “Here I am.”

Then one day as I was coming in from a long day at school and practice, I noticed something different in my flower garden – little pink flowers were coming out on the tips of the gaura. When I looked closer, I saw that the shriveled up ends that I thought needed to be chopped off were actually holding flower buds just waiting to open! As the week has gone on, more and more have opened up so that now the gaura is beautiful and full of pink flowers waving in the breeze.

That”s when I heard God speak and He told me to not give up, but to wait for the prize. I coach the cross country team because I want to instill a love of running in these kids and I want to hopefully make a difference in their lives in some small way. But the nitty gritty of it is I spend lots of time doing paperwork, then go to practice and try to reign in middle school boys with lots of energy and I come home feeling inadequate  and defeated. Seeing those pink flowers reminded me that these children are like those flowers wrapped up on the stalk of the gaura plant – ready to bloom but not yet! That’s one of the things I love about middle school kids – they are literally bursting at the seams with excitement for life, but need that encouragement to move forward, to embrace who they are becoming.


When Moses heard God calling him through the burning bush, he offered excuses and questioned God on why He was calling him. I feel the same way – couldn’t someone else do this better, God? Don’t you need someone younger, maybe someone who is a real coach? God’s answer to Moses was “I will be with you” (Ex. 3:12) and that is His promise to me as well. This is the place He has put me for now, and every time I go out my door and see those pink flowers dancing in the wind, I know He will give me what I need to keep going.