In Psalm 17 David prays for justice and for protection from those who want to do him harm. I often pray for protection for my family and friends. I have asked countless times for God’s angels to surround loved ones when I’m concerned for their safety. Sometimes I don’t even know what the dangers may be, but I get a ‘nudge’ to say a prayer for someone. I try to respond quickly to those nudges!
I think it’s more important to just remember others and think of their well-being in general, not so much out of fear, but out of love. God never forgets about any of us, even when we don’t think of ourselves or someone we should be praying for. God keeps each of us “as the apple of [his] eye,” according to this psalm.
We guard our sight, if we have it. In Chapter 10 of the Gospel of Mark, beginning at verse 48, we read the story of Bartimaeus. He was born blind and, after much yelling for Jesus to pity him and many well-meaning followers of Jesus telling Bartimaeus to keep quiet, Jesus calls him over. The Master asks the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” I’m sure Jesus already knows, but He wants the man to ask and so Bartimaeus articulates bravely and succinctly, “Master, I want to see.”
Our vision is so very precious to us. In this account his sight is instantly restored after Jesus rather laconically states, “Go your way. Your faith has saved you.” And which way does Bartimaeus head? He receives his sight and follows Jesus “on the way.” The healed man is given a myriad of choices. “Go your way.” It could be any direction for any purpose. But he chooses The Way, who is Jesus Christ.
We are as precious to God as our own ability to see is to us. Analogical to be sure, but helpful, I think. And once He gives us the ability to see, we find our purpose.
We have all been loved into being and are made to love Him and to love the others He created. To love like God is not something we can do on our own. But when we open ourselves up to receive all of God’s love and grace it leads us toward loving Him and our brothers and sisters (everyone) in a deeper and in a constant way. That’s our purpose, just like Bartimaeus knows it is his.
If we turn our lives over to God, loving Him, we will find peace within. We will also find we are secure in this moment and have no need to worry about the next, or about tomorrow, or next week or next year. You get the idea!
As a friend reminded me last week, Jesus is already there! He knows what’s next so I don’t have to. We just have to trust Him and trust that He’s thinking about us even when we’re forgetting to think about God. For me, sadly, that’s more often than I care to admit most days.
I think it’s important to just be grateful for God’s love, justice, mercy, and presence in my life. And then I need to bring all of those wonderful attributes into the lives of others. We can only do it with the Resurrection power that Jesus places within us. It’s dynamic, it’s living, it’s effective, it’s life-giving. It makes the blind see. But only if we allow God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, into the depths of our being.
Worry will dissipate, fear will be dispelled, when we surrender out of our love for God and then we see a glimmer of His constant loving gaze. We occupy God’s thoughts! That’s what happens when we love someone. And that’s something amazing and humbling to contemplate. That’s how God loves us. Once again, in our current mortal existence, we have only a glimpse of understanding. But we have that ability to see at all because Jesus Christ gives us that ability and then, like Bartimaeus, we get to follow Him.
Following the Way means living and loving as Christ does. We know He loves us because of what He has done for us. That’s how we should love, too. Treat everyone we meet like the ‘apple of your eye.’ Precious, special, irreplaceable.
With God’s love as our love we can do it.