One of the simplest stories in the Bible happens in Mark 10. Jesus is leaving Jericho and there is a large crowd with Him. I’m sure it was a crazy scene, with people all around wanting his attention. But from the street, Bartimaeus the blind man cries out to Jesus. At first the crowd dismisses him but he cries out all the louder. Jesus stops and says bring him here. Then He asks him the big question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus says, “Lord I want to see.” Jesus heals him, everyone celebrates and Bartimaeus follows Him down the road.
I love this story for a lot of reasons but I think the main reason is Jesus’ question. I think about how at different times I’ve cried out to Jesus and I wonder what it would be like if He stood in front of me and said, “What do you want me to do for you?”
I’ve thought about this question and I’ve asked a whole lot of other people to think about it. What would my answer be? Would I take the easy route, and toss out world peace or something like that for the answer – I mean I could say that but I wouldn’t mean it and Jesus would know.
What’s interesting is while we all know this story, if you go back a couple of paragraphs, Jesus asks the same question to James and John – yeah I’d never noticed it either. Their answer is way more honest than mine would probably be.
What do you want? It’s such a huge question. For a long time (like 15 years long time) I think I would have answered, “Jesus I want a wife”. But I would have been wrong. I mean I did (and do) want a wife, but that isn’t what I was really seeking. You see whatever your answer is to that question, you have to ask one more – why do you want that?
In other words “Why do you want a spouse?” That’s a question worth asking.
What we want, really I think, is the answer to our core question which is, “Am I loved?” This is asked all sorts of different ways. Am I valuable? Am I good enough? Do I matter? Do I have what it takes? Am I beautiful? Do your eyes light up when I come in the room? Am I accepted?
We want to know that we are loved – not just know it in our head, but in our heart.
The first place we get that question answered in our lives is our parents. But somewhere along the line, we start to seek the answer from the opposite sex, and while this is a bad idea if you are married, it can kill you as a single person, because the answer is always no. Do I have what it takes? Apparently not. No one’s eyes light up for me. Am I good enough (insert pretty enough, successful enough, thin enough, any other enough). I guess not because I’m still here by myself.
Or maybe worse, I can be single and keep needing this question answered again and again by yet another new person. One person seems to answer it but then it runs dry. I break up and someone else seems to answer it for a while and then I repeat the cycle.
One of the traps of singleness is the thought that if I finally get the right person (who of course will be perfect and perfectly answer this question – no pressure though), then I will know I’m loved. This can happen whether I never have a date or I’m constantly dating.
But here’s the good and bad news – Marriage doesn’t answer that question.
Marriage does answer two big questions -“Will I get married?” and “Who will I spend the rest of my life with?” But it does not answer “Am I loved”, not at the core. Only Jesus can answer it and we have to take the question to Him not a spouse, or anyone else. Married people know this (at least hopefully) but if we can get this as a single person we have a huge leg up.
First, it means I can be a complete person in Christ as a single person – I don’t HAVE to get married. Second, If we know this truth, we are automatically more attractive. A loved person is hot! Seriously! Finally, if we do indeed get married, we will be able to love the other person way better. Really, you can only love another person if you first know you are loved. And if we get married that’s the whole point.
So, it’s you and Jesus in the road. What do you want? Why do you want it?