I am the Paralytic

Luke 5:17-26

One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach Him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does He think He is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why do you question this in your hears? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”


And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”

I have thought about this story many times and I have played each role:

I have been one of the friends carrying the paralytic, bearing another’s burdens, caring for another during heavy times, bringing that person before Jesus and into His presence through prayer.

I have been one of the Pharisees, doubting in my heart the ways of Christ, trying to make sense of faith and doubt, questioning, searching, seeking my own wisdom and coming up short, not being able to reconcile the things of this world (broken and cursed) with the picture of heaven (redeemed and renewed).

I have been one of the ones in the crowd, witnessing Christ work in others’ lives, standing in awe, worshipping God, bearing testimony of His power and might and grace and mercy in someone else’s life.

Right now, I am the Paralytic.

I feel paralyzed, frozen, without control, waiting: how long, how hard, how much. I have been praying and waiting and hoping only to be met each month with disappointment, discouragement, and doubt. Some days it feels like there’s not much of me left – I’m all poured out (Ps. 22:14-15). I’ve prayed and cried, waited and wept, worshipped and not-worshiped, spoken life and experienced no new life inside of me. I’ve tried praying “harder,” having “just a little more faith,” “worshipping my way through,” “praising Him in the storm,” and seeking “the Joy of the Lord.”

Sometimes I have experienced that joy and so much more. Right now, not so much. It’s more like “a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1).

One of my favorites is a simple but meaningful southern gospel:

“I need you, you need me. We’re all a part of God’s body. Stand with me. Agree with me. We’re all a part of God’s body. It is His will that every need be supplied. You are important to me, I need you to survive.”

Today, I’m the paralytic and I’m asking you to carry me into the presence of Jesus. Pray for me, intercede on my behalf, do the hard work that I can’t do for myself right now. Be the hands and feet of the Body of Christ and help lower this paralytic through the roof and into the presence of healing, peace, forgiveness, and strength.

He’s got me right in the palm of His hand. I’m going to be fine. I’m going to experience the peace that surpasses understanding – all that and more! But just for today, if I’m the paralytic, could you be the friends? Thanks.

A Day in the Life

Today was a day just like any other – and I don’t want to forget it. Some days are pretty freaking great (even in, or especially in, their simplicity).

7:22: Wake up, turn on the shower, fall back asleep until the water heats up (it takes a while)
7:45: Shower
8:15: Check the weather, get ready
8:45: Skip out the door: purse, tube pass, keys, vaseline lip balm, hair tie, iPhone, headphones.
8:48: Walk through the door of my favorite local coffee shop. The 4’10” man behind the counter knows me by name and begins making my regular order. I am not lying when I say it is hands-down the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. I will most certainly miss it. No one has ever worn a smile larger than Jum’s – he is the smiliest Cambodian you’ll ever meet and he makes me smile, too, as we make small talk waiting on the coffee. I ask about his wife who sometimes works with him in the shop; he asks about Grant and school. I grab my order (which I get half price because I’m a local) and head out the door cherishing that first sip of the world’s greatest coffee.
8:50: Start an Andy Stanley podcast – awesome start to the day.
8:55: Scan my student pass Oyster Card through the gate at the Underground and wait on a train

9:00: Catch a southbound train and hop on the tube – I get a seat if I’m lucky… That’s a very big if.

{Before the Jubilee empties}

{After the jubliee empties}

9:22: Emerge two stops later, cross the street toward the church building that is now a night club; walk the block to my building
9:30: Begin my work placement, which I absolutely love. Seriously. Very few people love what they do as much as I love working in a publishing house.
5:30: Bounce out the door of Hodder and Stoughton, iPhone bumping again
5:59: Get off the tube, stop by local grocery store to pick up a few things (either Waitrose or Sainsbury’s). Call ahead and order a calzone from our favorite little Italian place, Oregano’s.
6:17: Stop in as they pull my calzone out of the brick oven on a wooden plank. They also know me and Grant by name.

6:29: Fish for my keys – the pink Master’s key chain that Rick and Janice gave me before we left “so you’ll have a little piece of home over there;” I use it every single day and cherish that feeling of home. Time my entrance with the motion-activated-and-timed light on the stoop. Push the door open so that it automatically hits the overhead-light switch just inside the outer door. Yell hello to our neighbor, Genti. Let myself into our flat, throw everything down and de-layer at the door – hat, scarf, coat, purse, bags, shoes. Deep breath. I’m home.

These are the little conveniences – knowing just how long it’ll talk in between things, weaving my day together perfectly because I now feel like a local, taking advantage of getting discounts and being a regular {insert: “Where everybody knows your name” here}. Seriously, though, it makes a difference. And on simple, uncomplicated days when this little routine works like a charm, life seems almost easy. And I don’t want to forget what days like these are really like.

A Day in the Life by The Beatles
Paul McCartney once said that this was the song he was most proud of, the quintessential Beatles song.