There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!” Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” – Matthew 20:30-33
The picture attached to this blog post is of a cherry tomato plant that has been growing on our patio all summer. It’s been a good growing season here in Minnesota. Lots of rain has caused plants like this one to grow tall. In this case bit too tall, at least for the size of the pot we had it in. The wind from a recent storm blew it over, and when I went outside to set it upright I discovered something curious. A root from the plant grown through a hole in the bottom of the pot, found a crack between the patio bricks and rooted itself into the soil! Unfortunately, when the pot tipped over the root broke.
I got to wondering – why is it sometimes so hard for us to ask for what we want or need? If a plant can send a root into the earth to find what nourishes it, why can’t we? I have at times found myself resenting that someone didn’t fulfill my needs, when in reality I never even asked. What’s up with that? I’m not talking about failing to ask a restaurant server for more water. I’m talking about asking for help, affirmation, compassion or love.
Asking for what we want or need can leave us feeling vulnerable. Sometimes we’re afraid that if we ask for what we want we’ll be indebted or become dependent. At other times we fear we’ll be perceived as weak. Perhaps we’re afraid we’ll “be a burden.” Or we fear the potential pain of rejection. And so we settle for less than we need. We isolate and we resent. And we wither.
That’s why I love the boldness of the two blind men in the story from Matthew 20. Despite the angry rejection of the crowds, these two men asked Jesus for what they wanted and needed – their sight. What courage!
What is it that you really want or need, but are afraid to ask for? Perhaps the journey of asking should begin with asking God for what we really need: courage. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s the grit to act despite our fears. So take courage this week and the send the roots of your request into the soil of someone else’s life. Let them nourish you. And trust that God will hold your heart every step of the way.
What keeps you from asking for what you want or need?
Jeff Marian is lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN