Life circumstances tend to dictate our
degree of desperation. There are all sorts of
situations in which we find ourselves in need, so we
ask for help. This I would describe as the ‘early
stage’ on the desperation spectrum. That is not to
say we are not truly in need, but only to say that we
have not yet moved beyond ‘asking mode’ (stay with
At other times our condition leads us to
move beyond simply asking. We can reach a point
where we are so desperate for help or guidance or
counsel that we begin to plead. We beseech. We
implore. We beg. This I would describe as the
‘intermediate stage’ on the desperation spectrum.
Life is reaching a point of being out of control, for
whatever reason, so we move beyond simply
asking. We begin to plead for help.
There is a ‘final stage,’ however, where
everything seems beyond us. It is when we are
overrun by moments and events in life—things we
clearly cannot deal with on our own. These are the
most critical situations. It is in such moments that we
are far beyond simply asking, and far beyond
pleading. We are maxed out on the desperation
spectrum. All that is left for us now is to demand
that someone help us. Forget manners. Forget even
basic etiquette. When we are in this state, it is time
for petition—it is time to make claims. It is time to
Bartimaeus had reached this last stage in his
life. He was blind. He was a beggar. He had nothing
to offer, especially in his world. And he wanted that
to change. Note that he didn’t ask for change to
happen. He didn’t beg for it to happen, either.
Rather, Bartimaeus demanded mercy. He called on
the only one who had the power to help him—and
he used the voice of command to do so. Twice.
“Have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus exhibited a bold
We would do well to also exhibit a bold faith.
May we strive to be a people who are not afraid to
lay claim to what God so freely offers.