Brave … Not Behaved

god didnt save us to tame us

Brave … Not Behaved

“What are you so afraid of?” That was the question posed by my courageous new friend, Annette Geroy, author and founder of Mount Horeb House Ministries.

I was participating in an intimate retreat with other women in ministry back in 2009 at the Haven River Inn, a beautiful Christian retreat center in Comfort, TX. I had just finished sharing the joys and heartaches of our family story, highlighting the many ways God had faithfully ministered to us over the years.

The conversation at the table was uncomfortably focused on me and why I had not yet published my Bible study Courageous Faith. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but that one question stirred up a myriad of deep-seated fears that resulted in a burst of sudden tears.

“What was I so afraid of?” I could have put together quite a list: fear of rejection and judgment came to mind rather quickly. It was one thing to teach Courageous Faith in the safe confines of my church with women who knew my heart and loved me, but quite another thing to put it out there for people I didn’t even know. The very thought left me feeling vulnerable, exposed, and a little sick to my stomach.

I wonder how many of us have similar reactions when challenged to step out of our comfort zone. Maybe you prefer “playing it safe” to “taking risks” … following rules rather than breaking them. Maybe like me, you’re more comfortable being behaved … rather than brave.

I think that’s why I’m drawn so powerfully to the story of Bartimaeus and why I fondly refer to him as my “Hero of Hope”.

In case you’re not familiar with his story, he was the blind man who was begging for money beside the road in Jericho when Jesus, his disciples and a large crowd came walking past.

When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. (Mark 10:47-50)

There’s more to this story of course, but for this week, let’s just focus on the treasures right in front of us.

Two things jump out at me immediately. First, this guy obviously believed in Jesus. His language indicates a personal faith in Him as Savior. But what really inspires me is the way he started shouting … loudly …. wildly … in front of everybody … the moment he realizes Jesus is within earshot. And then when the self-righteous crowd yelled at him for behaving badly, he shouted louder!

Don’t you love this? Bartimaeus wasn’t the least bit intimidated by the derisive and dismissive taunts of those in the crowd. Fully aware that Jesus had the power to heal and the compassion to hear the pleas of the outcast and downtrodden, he threw caution to the wind, fully abandoning himself to the heart and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Do you see why he’s my hero? He refused to let the doubts of others silence his voice of hope!

And here’s the other thing I love about his courageous heart: We don’t see him wringing his hands, wondering if it’s God’s will for him to be healed … He just stands and shouts … He simply throws it out there, for all to hear. He courageously puts words to the deepest desires of his heart and refuses to miss out on God’s blessings due to fears of rejection or fears of being disappointed.

Long before Christine Caine spoke the words, “God didn’t save us to tame us!”, Bartimaeus lived the untamed, uncaged life, we are created for.

May we courageously live heart-wide-open before the Lord, fearlessly dreaming big God-dreams, bravely stepping over fears, and embracing a prayer language of resolute hope!

Who wants to behave … when we can live brave?