I want to know what they are like, so I ask around, I read up.
Usually, that doesn’t help. Usually, what I read makes me more insecure. And when someone calls someone else intimidating or mean, that may be objectively true. OR it may mean that they sounded mean because they were speaking the truth that someone didn’t want to hear.
The best way to overcome the nervousness is to actually have the meeting. When I can move from hearing ABOUT someone to actually seeing them, hearing their tone of voice, the pauses, watching how they treat the people around, experiencing them.
The truth, of course, is that they may actually be mean. But they may be more gracious, more understanding, more helpful than I could have ever imagined. Because my imagination about someone reflects what I think of them, not who they are.
The more I can connect with who they are, the more accurately I can see them. And me.
We’re looking this week at two stories. Job and Bartimaeus. They are two people who had troubles, two people who had conversations with, interactions with, God. And I think we can learn a couple things about our relationships with God from these two people.
For background, Job was a man who lost everything – kids, health, belongings – through no fault of his own. He had some friends come, and after a helpful time of silence with his grief, they started blaming him for his troubles. After they were done, God spoke. God didn’t give Job the answers he was looking for, but Job finally got a picture of God. Our reading this week is the ending of the story.
Bartimaeus was a man who had nothing. He was blind, maybe from birth. He was a beggar, sitting on his cloak by the city gate of Jericho, depending on his ability to attract attention with his voice, and on his ability to process the world with his ears.
Two men, in trouble, with lives intersecting with God.
Should be interesting to consider.