Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

What If I Tell Jesus What I Really Want?

Lindsey Smallwood

Over at Middle Places this month, our writers are exploring what it means to be in the middle of healing. I'm on the blog sharing what I've learned from answering Jesus' question to a blind guy on the road.

Sometimes I pray for what’s right, instead of what’s real.

Like right now – I hope my good friend who is fighting cancer will be healed, but I don’t know whether God will do it so instead of praying for healing, I pray that God’s will be done.

And I would love to know what the timeline is for changes coming in my husband’s job, but instead of telling the Lord that, I find myself saying things like “I trust you with our future” and “I know you’ve always been faithful.”

The thing is, all of those things are true. It’s good to pray for God’s will to be done. I do trust Him with our future. He has always been faithful. But those aren’t the thoughts and feelings bouncing around my heart most days. Instead, it’s fear about what will happen to our family or a deep yearning to see my friend’s pain end.

Recently, I reread the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10. In the passage, Jesus passes a blind man named Bartimaeus as he’s walking down the road to his destination. The man calls out to Him, and Jesus stops, asking him this question: “What do you want me to do for you?”

What do you want?


On its face, it seems like a simple question. Yet answering it requires great courage because we risk finding out we may not get what we hope for. Even the good and godly things.

In Bartimaeus’ case, he asks to receive his sight. Jesus immediately heals him, and Bartimaeus looks at Jesus and follows Him down the road.

I can’t help but ask – what if my story isn’t like Bartimaeus’ happy ending? What if I tell Jesus what I want, what I really want, and He says “no” or “not now” or “wait”?

It’s scary to tell Him how much I long for another baby because in the simple act of saying what I want, I’m acknowledging I might not get it.

Yet relationships, real relationships, can only flourish where there’s honesty and open communication. I think that includes our relationship with God.

I know God wants me to have right theology, to pray for His will to be done, to understand He’s ultimately in control. But He also desires me to bring my whole self to Him: my questions, my challenges, my longings.

As I hear Jesus’ question to Bartimaeus, I imagine Him asking me: “Lindsey, what do you want?”

Slowly, carefully, I let my unspoken desires come to light.

I want my friend to be completely healed from cancer.

I want another baby.

I want the restoration of a broken relationship with a friend.

Saying what’s really in my heart, out loud, to the One who knows me better than I know myself is scary and liberating all at the same time. It’s a step toward deeper relationship with Him. It’s the best possible place to be vulnerable, telling the truth to a God who will never leave me or forsake me, even if His answer is no.


This post originally appeared at Middle Places.