In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus heals a blind man. In our mind’s eye, the scene is picturesque - the man and Jesus meet and have an unexplainable encounter that is both human and divine. We are touched by Jesus’ care and concern for this man’s suffering and great need.
Now picture this:
I am walking home, caught up in my thoughts, unaware even of the street beneath my feet. My mind is flooded with situations that must be tended to -- the physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial needs of all the people we serve. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Rosalinda approaching. She is only in her 50s, but poverty has run its course on her body, and she appears to be a much older woman. An outsider may rightly label her a beggar, for she repeatedly comes to our mission house to beg for her daily bread.
She looks like poverty - blackening teeth, unsteady feet, sunken eyes. She smells like poverty. She speaks her poverty.
“Ma’am, I’m hungry, ma’am. Give me the rice.”
How many times I have heard these same words from her. I try to offer a little smile, but she keeps on:
“Ma’am, I have no food. My house....no rice, ma’am. No coffee. My husband, no work.”
Was it any different for Jesus on the road to Jericho, confronted by a blind man?
“He shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!’ The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, ‘Son of David, have pity on me!’”
Jesus, in His unending compassion, pauses and addresses him. “‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ He replied, ‘Lord, please let me see.’”
The requests of the poor are rarely extravagant or wrapped in palatable euphemisms or disguised in pretty paper. They are raw and brutally honest. Their need is real.
Rosalinda and I make our way together to the corner store. I hand her the bag of rice and offer to pray with her for her family. But as I begin the prayer, her words tumble out over mine, and I stop to listen.
“Lord, thank You, Lord. Please help my family. Help my children. Help my husband find a work. Thank You, Lord.”
Her words are real - there is no guile, no pretension in them as she humbles herself before me and before her God. I know now what prayer is meant to be.
|Our friend, Lola Dory, in a chapel her grandparents built.|
Just as with the blind man who, upon receiving his sight, gave glory to God, Rosalinda gives glory to her Father in heaven, to the One Who provides for all her needs. I, too, give glory to God, thanking Him for teaching me all of this through His littlest ones.