I cried in the shower this morning, which is my favorite place to break down. There’s something about hot water mixing with hot tears that’s comforting and cleansing. And I don’t have to care about messing up my make-up.
I’m just really tired. Some of it is sick and tired but most of it is a bone-tired feeling from a job hard worked and well done. The sick and tired part weighs heavy on me but the satisfied tired feels cathartic.
There’s a story in the Bible that I love about Jesus healing a paralyzed guy. Jesus was teaching to a crowded house and this group of guys wanted him to heal their paralyzed friend. There were too many people there to get their friend right up to Jesus so they got creative and lowered him through a hole they made in the roof. Jesus was impressed by their faith (and probably their tenacity), took one look at the paralyzed guy and said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
What I find so interesting about this is that Jesus didn’t immediately make him walk again, which of course, he could’ve done. He could’ve changed this man’s circumstances first but I imagine that he looked at the man’s situation and saw that he needed more. He needed to be set free more than he needed to walk again.
Here’s what I imagine happened: Let’s call the paralyzed guy Bob. Maybe Bob became paralyzed after falling off an ox cart that his best friend was driving. He blamed his friend for being careless and their relationship was forever changed. His friend apologized repeatedly and dedicated his life to taking care of Bob but it’s really hard to forgive something that has drastically changed your life forever. I totally relate to that. From personal experience, I can tell you that when I’ve been hurt and miserable, I’ve unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) made everyone else around me miserable too. I’m guessing that Bob’s friends, especially his best friend, were desperate to help Bob heal and they thought that if he could just walk again, everything would be fine. They’d have their old Bob back.
But Bob had changed inside after becoming paralyzed. He was bitter and angry, and justifiably so. He kept reliving what happened on the ox cart that day and catalogued ways in which everyone had failed him.
So, when Bob’s friends heard that Jesus was in town healing people, they thought, “This is our chance!” They would get Bob healed, have their old friend back and everyone could stop feeling so bad about what happened.
They were a little freaked out when they saw the crowd but nothing was going to stop them from getting Bob in front of Jesus. And Bob, who felt like his friends owed him, was more than happy and desperate enough to let them carry him to the top of the building and lower him through the roof.
When Jesus didn’t immediately make Bob walk again but instead told him that his sins were forgiven, I bet his friends were shocked. They were probably thinking, “With all due respect, you need to make Bob walk again. If you don’t, he’ll keep punishing us and we’ll keep punishing ourselves forever.”
But I bet Bob was thrilled. Bob was no dummy. He knew that he had changed since the accident. The hell he was living in wasn’t caused solely from not being able to walk. His deepest pain was rooted in feeling betrayed and unloved. His best friend, the person he trusted most in the world, caused the ox cart to be tipped over and Bob didn’t know if he could trust anyone ever again. He wanted his best friend and all of his friends to be held accountable for their role in his pain.
So, when Jesus told him that his sins were forgiven, Bob was set free of everything that was holding him back from living, healing and forgiving. He was given an unexpected gift that he didn’t even know he needed. Jesus filled a hole in his heart that Bob’s friends, no matter how well intentioned, could never fill on their own. His friends didn’t know it yet but they had received an unexpected gift too.
I imagine that Bob’s world changed in that instant when he realized that the heavy burdens he had been trying to carry and had wanted his friends to carry, were not has heavy as they had been a moment before. And then, when Jesus told him a few minutes later, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home,” that was the icing on the cake.
This story affects me so much because lately, some of my circumstances have drastically changed and others haven’t changed at all. Either way I feel at peace because when I’m desperate to be healed I know what to do. I pray, “Jesus get ready. I’m coming through the roof!”
I hope you open your hearts to ways in which your burdens can be eased. Have a wonderful Easter!
One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
– Luke 5:17-26