Faith in the Guide(book) - Matthew 9:27-34
A Lent Reflection for Wednesday, March 22nd
By Ashley James (Jacobson)
Lectionary reading: Isaiah 60:17-22; Matthew 9:27-34
Selected passage: Matthew 9:27-34
Matthew 9:27-34 New Living Translation
Jesus Heals the Blind
27 After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
28 They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?”
“Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.”
29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region.
32 When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. 33 So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed.
34 But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.”
I’m the type of person that likes to know all of the details or do all of the research before I participate in most things. This can be anything from engaging in conversation about certain topics or trips that I go on. Sometimes this is a weakness of mine, especially when it comes to being vulnerable in conversations, but friends and family enjoy this about me because if we are going on a trip together they know that I will try to learn and plan as much as is needed.
One hobby that I have is backpacking and my desire to know and do research comes in really handy here. This last summer I was able to go hike half of the Oregon Coast Trail with my friend Abbie. This trip was 13 nights and 14 days out on the trail. Before this trip the longest either of us had ever done was 7 days so this was quite the adjustment. As soon as we decided where we wanted to go, I immediately got to work on the itinerary and learned as much as I could about a place I had never been before. The first 2 things that I found out about the trail when I started researching was 1. It was not well marked at all and 2. You needed to purchase Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail by Bonnie Henderson.
I bought the Kindle version of this book so we could take it on the trail with us and immediately read the whole thing cover to cover. When I had a question or something seemed confusing, I would just email Bonnie and she would fill me in if it wasn’t in her book. She became this incredible resource.
When we got on the trail, Bonnie’s book helped us at every point. Each site we needed to stay at was correct, every turn we needed to make at certain landmarks, places where we could get water and food…etc. Everything was perfectly laid out in this guidebook. One thing that came up in the guidebook that was a little uneasy for me was having to cross an estuary. I didn’t even know what that was but it is where a tidal mouth of one body of water meets another. In our case a stream and the pacific ocean. According to Bonnie you needed trekking poles and a tide table. We had both and I spent time studying the tide table and knew exactly when we needed to cross on the date we would be crossing: 6:19am. Abbie did not research at all. She didn’t need to, she had me. But she did like to ask a lot of questions about what we were doing, especially when we got to the estuary.
We wake up the next morning to get to the estuary at 6:10am and it is raining and foggy. But I’m persistent and follow the guidebook even in the midst of Abbie wondering if Bonnie is a “bad guy” and leading us astray. We get to the estuary and you can see the tides pulling at each other and lowering. The time reaches 6:19am and we go for it despite our reservations. We had faith in what the guidebook was telling us.
If we would have not crossed the estuary we would have added 6.5 miles of road walking to our hike that day and would have missed out on hiking on a beach all to ourselves and an incredible view at the top.
Jesus says to the two men that are blind “Because of your faith, it will happen.” I’m struck by them crying out to Jesus, but then the text moves on to Jesus walking into the house and them following him there. He didn’t respond when they cried out. He responds later in the house. Their faith. They had a faith in Jesus that led them to not only call out to him but to be persistent and follow him into his space. And Jesus responds to them.
I think about the faith that I put into a guidebook to lead me on the Oregon Coast Trail and wonder if I have that kind of faith in Jesus? What I’ve learned is that my faith in Jesus–gives me more Jesus. What do I miss out on by not having faith in Jesus? I think about what I would have missed out on by not crossing the estuary and how miserable 6.5 more miles on a road would have been. Jesus offers us freedom through our faith, are we willing to step into that with him? Where in my life is Jesus asking “Do you believe?” And how am I responding to that question?
Lord, we are grateful that you allow us to be in relationship with you. Help me to have faith in you like these two men did. Help me to be persistent in that faith even when I’m unsure. Give me opportunities to answer the question “Do you believe?” And remind me of the kind of faith I am able to have and experience in you.
About the Author
Ashley James (Jacobson) lives in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois with her husband Jevaughn, where she is the Area Director for Young Life. One of Ashley’s favorite things that she gets to do is coach high school boys and girls soccer at a local high school. She is passionate about people knowing that they matter and that they are worth showing up for. You can find Ashley on IG @cutter24aj