Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

— Mark 10:46-52

The question “What do you want?” can be one of the most soul-searching and thought-provoking questions I have ever been asked.

Every year, Johnson University takes a group of students to the Exponential Church Planting conference. This past year the conference was held in Orlando, FL at First Baptist Orlando. So we packed up and drove from Knoxville to Orlando.

You need to know that a couple of months before this, I was sitting in chapel one day and I felt as if God was telling me to pay attention. He didn’t say what to do, but it was like he was saying focus. The chapel that day had a guest speaker from Stadia Church Planting. I don’t think God was saying plant a church (and if he did, I would have been terrified, so it was probably for the best). I felt like he was just wanting me to explore it.

So, honestly, I was on the Exponential trip because of one simple nudge. Looking back, I know that it was only God that placed me there because I was not even in the class that was leading the trip and somehow my friend, James, and I ended up with them through another friend.

First Baptist Orlando was an absolutely huge church. They had something in particular that I had never seen before. They had a prayer room, but with a full-time prayer team. I had seen prayer rooms but never with a full-time team. These people were the kindest and most intentional people I have ever met.

On our last day, James and I decided that we were going to go experience the prayer room. Ernesto was a guy working that day and he was the first to approach us. He sat us both down in our own chairs next to each other. I had no idea what to expect. Ernesto started with James and he asked one, simple question… “What do you want from God?”

By the end of it, my mind was blown, and I was in shock of how present the Holy Spirit felt. Then, Ernesto looked at me and asked one, simple question… “What do you want from God?”

I stumbled my words but finally, it came down to acceptance. I desperately long for acceptance in God and in others.

My heart was broken at my realization of my child-like longing and I wept.

As if that wasn’t enough, after a little time of crying and silence, Ernesto asked: “Do you have a girlfriend?” This threw me off guard because I was thinking, “You didn’t ask James this.” At that time, Suz was my girlfriend—but I had already started making plans to propose to her. I told all of that to Ernesto. He said, “This may be the reason you are here. That you need to release this burden before you enter into marriage.” I knew then why God had nudged me to look into church planting months before. He was pushing me towards my conversation with Ernesto to settle my deep want in my soul. God was speaking so clearly that all I could do is cry in his presence. God had a plan. I don’t know if I will head into church planting one day, but I know that God put me in Orlando for a reason. It was months in the making, but I can look back and see a masterful plan in the works. I was rejoicing knowing God is with me, but burdened by my brokenness. 

So, I want to ask you… “What do you want from God?” 

Take some time today and reflect on what your soul craves from God. Let God speak into that need in a way only he can. The blind man brought his request to Jesus and he answered it. I pray that you begin the journey of knowing what your soul needs. As you grow closer to a God who provides in our weakness.

Grace and peace,

Nick Settles Initials

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