Nish Weiseth calls herself “a perpetual misfit” but we like to think of her as a friend, a sister, a visionary, a champion for words and story. In 2011 she started the online community Deeper Story, a safe place where hard stories about Christianity and culture could be shared. With over 60 writers, Deeper Story continues to grow and promote Nish’s belief—and ours—that words matter, and our stories are important.
Today Nish is sharing an excerpt from her book Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World.
In the gospel of Luke (18:35–42), Jesus and those around Him came upon a blind man on the side of the road to Jericho. The blind guy was begging. He had nothing. The crowd surrounding Jesus started to get closer to the man as they walked down the road, and he asked a passerby what was happening.
“It’s Jesus of Nazareth,” the passerby said with excitement. “He’s walking by right now.”
And with that, the blind guy sitting on the side of the road called out to Jesus. I mean, really called out to Him. He’d have to yell pretty loudly, given the crowd of people surrounding Jesus on the road.
And he didn’t just yell, “Hey, Jesus!” He called out to “Jesus, son of David,” implying that he knew exactly who Jesus was and what He was capable of. “Have mercy on me,” the blind man implored Him.
The people in the front of the moving crowd kept trying to hush him, to keep him quiet as Jesus walked by, but he persisted. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” You can almost hear the desperation and need in his voice.
Jesus didn’t look to someone else in the crowd and ask, “What does that guy want?” Nor did He ask someone else to help the man get what he needed. Jesus stopped and had the man brought right to Him. Right to His face! And Jesus spoke directly to the beggar. He asked the blind man what He could do for him, and the blind man told Jesus he wanted his sight back.
And the man received his sight because he had faith. Jesus healed him Himself. He’s God. He could have had any number of His disciples heal the blind man that day, but Jesus healed him.
Everyone around Jesus was looking down on the man sitting in the dirt; they kept telling him to be quiet. The text here says they were the ones leading the way, and I imagine Jesus being somewhere in the middle of the crew or possibly near the back. I love the visual of Jesus stopping in His tracks to speak to this man after everyone had already overlooked him. And being the Son of God, He certainly knew what the man needed before he even opened his mouth to speak. But Jesus asked anyway, “What do you want me to do for you?”
He listens as He looks into eyes and faces. He reaches out to the person—the whole person—and meets their need.
And may it be so with us. When reaching out with our hands, resources, and love to those in need, may we always look into their faces and listen to their stories. Even though it can seem like the voices of those on the margins have been silenced, may we remember that they haven’t been. They have stories, lives, and experiences too. Sometimes it’s our job to simply be a microphone, offering our volume, influence, and privilege for the sake of those who need it most. I pray we are reminded that those of us with privilege and influence have the ability to share those stories to impact change. Every person’s story deserves to be heard and told.
May we be the hands and feet of Christ as we sit and listen and tell the stories of the least of these.
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Karen Thompson says
I live in South Wales, UK and I am on the autism spectrum. I have Asperger Syndrome and my story may be interesting to some, but I am standing up for the stories of other people like me, whose stories are truly important to me even though I have heard only a few of them.
They are important to me, because I understand these stories, although I have a difference in my story, because I have Jesus in mine. This does not mean easy, but it does mean knowing someone’s on my side, whatever happens.
Karen, I’m a mom to a kid on the Autism spectrum. Your story has incredible power & value! I do hope you’ll share it – your story can do so much! Peace to you.
My husband had an affair several years ago, and we began the hard work of putting our marriage back together again. It’s still difficult, but I know that my story and words can help others, so I’m not quiet about it. It is my goal to help as many women as possible avoid what happened to me, and to help, comfort, and strengthen those who walk that walk, too.
Sometimes, I’ve found, that my most profound healing comes in sharing the hard places.
Beth Williams says
Everyone has a story to tell. I love that when we call out to Jesus Son of God help us–He hears and comes quickly!
My stories are varied–one dealing with hearing loss from birth and learning sign language a little bit. How one deals with it and gets by in this noisy world of ours. My other story deals with aging parents and watching one slowly deteriorate from dementia and sundowners. It deals with getting help for my parents and how the system works. I will keep talking and telling my stories.
Most importantly I will listen to others tell their stories and encourage them along their journey!
Blessings and Merry Christmas!