Most of us have learned of many men and women throughout
history who dared to go forward when all the odds were against them.
They gave meaning to the phrase, “Winners never quit, and quitters
The Scriptures tell us the story of one such man—blind
Bartimaeus, who would not take “no” for an answer. Despite his being
harshly rebuked by the people around him, Bartimaeus repeatedly cried
out to Jesus until He received his healing (see Mark 10:46-52).
As Christians we can learn a lesson in persistence from
blind Bartimaeus. No matter how difficult the situation we find
ourselves in, we must continue to press in until we receive the answer
we are seeking.
Jesus said, “‘I have told you these things so that in Me
you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have
tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good
cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have
overcome the world.’” (John 16:33, The Amplified Bible).
When I look back over my life, I realize there were many
reasons for me to give up. As a young girl I learned early on about
cruelty and abuse. Being born in the ’50s to a black woman and a white
man was not a popular thing. As a result, I suffered tremendous
physical and mental abuse that lasted for years.
School was a nightmare for me. I looked different from
the other children in my inner-city neighborhood, and my fair
complexion made me a target of their derision and violence. I was
beaten and had my hair pulled out nearly every day.
The pain, guilt and shame in my life were so intense that
I sometimes wanted my life to end. I often asked myself, “Why was I
born?” Little did I know that one day that question would be answered.
I believe that long before we are born a blueprint is
already laid out in heaven concerning our lives. Although my childhood
was very traumatic, God was still there.
I remember talking to God at the age of 5—even though I
was not reared in a Christian home. God began speaking to me about
living water and eternal life when I was still very young, though I did
not know I was hearing His voice at the time.
Home was not a haven for me. My mother loved me, but she
had struggles of her own after having lost her mother at an early age.
She just wasn’t ready to raise me and my five siblings.
I’ve never met my father, but I know he was a Jewish man.
One of my mother’s sisters hated white people and, therefore, she hated
me. She even went so far as to tell my mother, in my presence, that if
she “put that half-white child away, [she] could have a better life.”
Whenever I was left in the care of this aunt, she’d beat
me, force me to do strenuous chores and exploit me for the
entertainment of the drunken customers who frequented the speakeasy she
Despite all this, I know God had a plan. In the midst of
heartache and despair, He had a purpose for me, and He knew how to
encourage me along the way.
It was another one of my aunts, Mae, who showed me
kindness and sometimes took me with her for the weekend. She encouraged
me, telling me that I could have a better life and make a difference.
As a teen-ager I began wanting to know my purpose. Since
suicide had been a constant thought during my early years, I was
desperate to find something to live for.
I recall getting ready to take a handful of pills once
when I heard a voice saying, “Stop! Don’t do this! Don’t give up hope!”
It startled me, and I put the pills back in the bottle.
Looking to fill the void in my life, I attended several churches. I had no knowledge then that I was longing for God.
During my search, I discovered “religion.” Though I
joined and became actively involved in a church, it wasn’t until
several years later that I truly began my walk with God.
The void was finally filled. I completely gave my life to Jesus and started living for Him from that day forward.
Shortly thereafter, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Life began to take on new meaning for me.
I began studying God’s Word and learning wonderful truths
about victorious living. God was telling me that I was a new creation,
more than able to do and overcome all things (see Phil. 4:13). He was
also beginning to reveal specific things to me regarding my future.