ripping off tiles and lowering ourselves down
For what feels like forever, I have been trying to carry a paralyzed one on a stretcher. Searching for ways to get around the obstacles and noise, begging for the help of others to lift him up over my head and onto the roof, tirelessly ripping off tile after tile, until I reach the breakthrough; until I can lower the whole giant mess down into the middle, and place every bit of it in front of Jesus.
Because I know. I am not capable of the healing. Only Jesus heals. But I have a part in this. I am asked to carry.
And so I have always been drawn to Luke's Gospel and the story of the paralytic man. His friends of faith. And the God who heals. I have always found comfort in the story, that so long as I continue seeking out a way to bring a loved one in His presence, we stand a chance at being among those struck in awe, those who witnessed Jesus's healing, those who exclaimed, "We have seen incredible things today."
Please, dear Jesus, let us see incredible things.
But Jesus asks a question in this Gospel that, because so consumed with others sins and need for healing, I have missed.
"What are you thinking in your hearts?"
What do we think when we see others suffering?
They brought it upon themselves?
The parents are to blame?
They deserve it?
God can't reach them?
And what do we think when we see Jesus forgive others?
Show up for others?
That it is unfair?
That He must not care about our own sickness?
That He works for some but not all?
That we are unworthy of restoration?
In my heart, do I feel that God owes me healing?
In my heart, do I hold resentment against God for not responding faster to my loved ones in need? To my own need? Which let us be honest, are one in the same for the heart of a mother.
In my heart, do I resent all of this waiting and cross carrying?
In my heart, am I carrying all of the paralyzed I encounter to Jesus, or only the ones that benefit me directly?
And in my heart, why carry these stretchers at all?
For a quick end to the pain?
To get rid of it once and for all?
Or do I make this journey purely out of love? Love for the God who carries me daily? Love for the God that I am confident will restore and redeem?
After the paralyzed man was healed, he got up immediately...as those who encounter Christ always do...picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. And it has got me to wondering...
What I am lying on?
What is my stretcher?
What is my stretcher that quite frankly, is not ideal but has become comfortable...is not me at my best, but because it is easy, feels good enough?
What is my sin...that has me paralyzed...unable to move...that requires others to literally pick me up and bring me to Jesus?
And who are these others???
I have wondered before if this man, unable to move, even wanted to be brought to Jesus.
It is hard to bring the unmovable to the One who moves mountains.
If you have tried, you understand what I mean.
But it is also hard to recognize our own paralysis.
It is hard to allow others to step in and carry us.
It is hard to face our sin and face Jesus and to let go of all the things we love but hold us back, really, and to get up off of what we have been lying on.
Anyway, just what is on my mind on this Monday morning.
The need to be carried, and to carry, and how grateful I am.
For those that help me carry the stretcher of a loved one.
For those that carry me on my own stretcher.
And for the God who waits patiently for all of us...to finding a way, to lowering ourselves down, to meeting Him in the middle....one ripped off tile at a time.