Do you know anyone who is satisfied with the way things are? There seems to be something inside each of us that wants to reach beyond our self and touch something “more.”

We are each plagued by a kind of holy discontent.

In our own way, we are each crying out for mercy. We are each, deep in our souls, longing for an experience with God.

Surely God will hear our cries and respond to our longings. Even now, as we read, reflect, and pray, may we hold out hope that God will sneak up on us in the form of forgiveness, acceptance, peace, joy, and love.

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Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.”

They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.”

Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus.

Mark 10:49-50

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I love that the crowd calls “the blind man” forward on behalf of Jesus, because only minutes earlier they were scolding him and telling him to be quiet. But now that Jesus is responding to Bartimaeus’ cry for mercy, so are they. What a turn of events!

They say to him, “Be encouraged! Get up! (Jesus) is calling you.”

It is especially interesting that the crowd uses the phrase, “Be encouraged!” The root of the word courage is cor, which is the Latin word for heart. So a person with courage is someone who lives from his or her heart or core. Instead of being who others expect them to be, or who others want them to be, the courageous person chooses to be who they are. The courageous person doesn’t listen to all of the negative voices in and around them. But instead, they settle down into their true self, acknowledging and accepting that they’re made in the image of God.

Talk about a liberating way to live. Surely this is what we all need to hear. We too need to “Be encouraged!”

Chris Robertson

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God, it’s really easy to make the mistake of trying to be who others want me to be. If I’m being totally honest, I have a difficult time even knowing who I am, much less living with courage. But I want to do better, so please surround me with people who will encourage me, and help me to encourage others. Amen.

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Mercy is truly a grace-filled gift, one that is offered to all of us in and through Christ.

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”

from Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner (1973)

Chris Robertson

Rev. Chris Robertson loves everything about Jesus. Formerly a youth pastor, he’s now the manager of a veterinary practice in East Tennessee. In his spare time he enjoys reading, hiking, and wrestling in the floor with his two boys, Shane and Theo.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Jim McConnell

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