We conclude our series of readings from Job this week by hearing Job’s reply to God’s words to him, and we see how Job’s life ends, “old and full of days,” having seen his children and his children’s children, four generations, and having received twice as many blessings as he had before his troubles. This defies our notions of reality, and perhaps even our desires for satisfaction, knowing as believe we do that goodness and faithfulness are not always (and perhaps, we think, should not be) rewarded in such tangible ways. Perhaps we might consider that Job’s real reward was in his encounter with God, hearing from God about the wonders of his creation and the enduring of his purposes. “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you,” Job says. Job has questioned, and then he has listened well, and now he sees.
There is transformation from blindness to sight in our gospel lesson, as well. We have been reading our way through Mark’s gospel this month, listening to Jesus teach about his kingdom and explain what will happen to him—and witnessing the disciples’ blindness, their failure to understand what Jesus has told them. In our reading this week, Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho as they encountered the blind man Bartimaeus sitting by the side of the road. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” he cried out. Attempts to silence him only caused him to cry out more loudly. When Jesus called for him to come, Bartimaeus sprang up immediately and did not hesitate to make his request, “My teacher, let me see again.” To which Jesus replied, “Go; your faith has made you well.” And then, with his sight, he followed Jesus along the way. Imagine how intently the blind man must have been listening to all he heard—and how intense his vision must have been when his eyes could see. Transformation happens when we give that kind of intent attention to Christ’s presence in our world.
This Sunday we will welcome Joshua Bullock Ridgdell into the household of God. Immediately after his baptism, we will pray that God will give him “an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works.” We should ask the same for all of us.