“17 On one of the days while Jesus was teaching, some proud religious law-keepers and teachers of the Law were sitting by Him. They had come from every town in the countries of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was there to heal them. 18 Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. 19 But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21 The teachers of the Law and the proud religious law-keepers thought to themselves, “Who is this Man Who speaks as if He is God? Who can forgive sins but God only?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said to them, “Why do you think this way in your hearts? 23 Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 “So that you may know the Son of Man has the right and the power on earth to forgive sins,” He said to the man who could not move his body, “I say to you, get up. Take your bed and go to your home.” 25 At once the sick man got up in front of them. He took his bed and went to his home thanking God. 26 All those who were there were surprised and gave thanks to God, saying, “We have seen very special things today.”
Luke 5: 17-39
Last week I had a relapse. Money got tight again and I began to sink emotionally. This area is my biggest weakness. It cripples me physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is the area of my life where I am prone to doubt God and his goodness. It is an area I allow Satan to rule over myself. I slowly become withdrawn and sad. Then, I feel the waves of anxiety and fear that life will never be different. Finally, all hope is lost and the darkness sets in. Then, I find myself ready to leave this Earth and its suffering. I feel that I can not go on in the state I am finding myself. Over the years, you have head me talk of blessing in suffering, but this time I couldn’t remember my own words. The words I could remember had no power over me. I was void, empty, dead. In fact, most of the memories for that week are all gone. There is a black, blank space in my mind where those memories should be.
This last week, I became angry at God. This was the first time I had felt suicidal while on my medication. It took more of a toll and struck fear within me. I wanted to withdraw from God. I doubted his goodness that he would allow me to struggle with something that would allow me to nearly take my own life again. I felt that he was truly testing me beyond what I could bear and I feared for the future. I even wrote a note to my family about the future and how this illness would eventually take my life. The burden was too hard to bear and I couldn’t bring myself to the feet of Jesus to turn it over. However, the days have slowly gotten better.
Each day I have made progress and found hope returning. I started to laugh again, smile, and feel love for those around me. However, I still put up my barriers to the Lord. I was angry and fearful. That was until this morning. I began listening to a talk given by David Platt about paralysis and forgiveness. I saw myself in the verses of Luke 5 and I wanted to share some insight with you.
This man did not go to be healed on his own strength. He had friends. These friends knew his pain and knew his suffering. They also had faith that this man could be healed by the God of the universe. It so struck me because many who are suffering are abandoned by those who claim to know and love them. The years of pain and suffering hang on and people become almost afraid that the suffering is catching. No one can walk the journey of suffering alone. They need people to really know and engage them, not to sit on the sidelines. It is not enough to just quickly check in or pray for someone in deep suffering. They need strong, deep friendships to lead and sustain them.
Second, these friends did not simply see their friends sin. In these days, people believed that it was the sin of the person or their family that brought suffering and hardship. There was no notion of grace, true healing grace. This is something that this mans friends and Jesus taught and demonstrated to the paralytic. The were so certain he would be healed that they tore down the roof, just to get him into the presence of Jesus. We need to be that bold for those in deep suffering and allow the Lord to do his great work in and through these people. We need to lead these individuals to the feet of Jesus, even if it means tearing off a roof.
Also, you can pray for healing for those who are hurting but this is not God’s sole focus during seasons of suffering. Jesus healed the paralytic from his earthly malidy secondary to his true healing. Jesus wants to have our hearts. He wants our holiness before our worldly agenda. Jesus forgave this man from his sins before he allowed him to walk. The walking was the evidence of a greater healing. All of us long to be well and in the presence of God but his plans may be different than ours. This had the greatest impact on me.
I was angry at God for not healing me and scared for the future. However, my future hope is not tied to anything this side of heaven. God is concerned with my spiritual health first and foremost. Now this is an area where I would tread lightly in a season of great pain. However, allow this to be the way you pray for someone who is hurting. God wants our healing to leave us mature and complete lacking in nothing. So, for me to experience true healing, I need to wait on the Lord for worldly healing though my hope is tied to eternal healing and sanctification. I need to trust God that he is with me in my pain and will use me to bring glory to himself. This is true restoration. This should be the desire of my heart and the desire of others.
If you don’t understand that truth today, I pray that it will capture you and lead you to a place of repentance. God created us, we sinned and were separated from him, Jesus came to bridge that gap. He was a good man who lived a perfect life free of sin, but he was also fully God. He took the weight of the world’s sin upon himself and died, not just for all of humanity, but for you. He wants you to repent and walk into a life free from the condemnation of sin. He wants to spend eternity with you and with others. Take up your mat and walk. Remember and share where you have been and how far God has brought you. Give your life to him and ask him to restore you to a right place with him, where we can put our hope in the future glory of God’s ultimate healing of our worldly bodies in heaven.