Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | October 22, 2018

God hears those who cry out

In a poignant story that rings true in every generation, a man cries for help and people tell him to stop it.

As [Jesus] and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. [from Mark 10]

The only one who says, “Don’t shush him; bring him here,” is Jesus. Employing words that express how urgently Jesus takes the request for healing, the writer of the gospel tells us that the man springs up and immediately regains his vision.

In rereading this narrative, I am reminded of stories throughout the centuries where people’s cries have been ignored. But the witness of the scriptures (both Jewish and Christian) is that God hears when others turn a deaf ear.

God heard the cries of the oppressed Israelites.

God heard the plea of a Canaanite sex worker named Rahab, who asked that her family be spared when the city of Jericho fell.

God heard the prayers of the lepers, the blind, the desperate parents, the hungry—who came to meet Jesus.

God heard the desperation of Jews in gas chambers, Ukrainians who were starved, Cherokee on the Trail of Tears, enslaved persons in the US and around the world, Sudanese who suffered horrors in a civil war.

God hears the voices of refugees fleeing danger in Honduras and El Salvador, in Syria or Sudan.

God hears the cries of children who are hungry, hurt, afraid, alone.

God hears the hopes of people who are marginalized—often overlooked or looked down upon—because of their race.

God hears the fears of LGBTQ+ persons who face challenges every day because of who they are.

God hears the pleas of those who suffer through natural or manmade disasters.

God hears the plight of women whose voices have long been ignored.

God hears the outbursts or silent troubles of patients who are homebound, in hospitals or nursing homes.

God hears the weary weeping of caregivers.

God hears the despair of the grieving.

God hears you.

When we hear the voices of those who are struggling, the simplest response is to close our ears, or tell them to stop calling out–they’re being disruptive.

It’s our responsibility to listen with God’s ears, to hear the cries of those in need, and not to let those cries go unanswered. table with lemons, copyright low, blog 10-22-18

© 2018 Melissa Bane Sevier


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