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.

Advertisements

Prayer for Today – 2 Samuel 5:17-20

  
Praying for the God of the BREAKTHROUGH to BREAK THROUGH in our hearts, in our lives – bursting through our sin and excuses and cleansing us with holy and covenant water. 

2 Samuel 5:20

So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim which means the Lord who breaks through.

  

2 Sam 5:17-20 tells of when David was anointed king and immediately came under attack. 

After that battle, David called the Lord by a new name – The Lord Who Bursts Through or The God of the Breakthrough. 

Prayer for Today:

Lord BREAK THROUGH the bits that war within us – our critical nature, prideful spirit, apathy, frustration, stubbornness – anything that would exalt itself above You. We are asking, God, that we would know You by a new (to our experience but very ancient) name: The Lord Who Breaks Through. 
  
Come like a mighty rushing river collapsing and cleansing, sanding off our rough edges, leaving us with the quiet, peaceful confidence of Your presence, Lord. We need a Lord who is able – the God who breaks through. 

  
 

Prayer for Today – Zephaniah 3:17

  

Lord, thank You that You are a strong and mighty warrior, that there is a non-passive, passionate, and he-man heroic side to You that involves war and victory. Thank You that we get the benefit of victory and salvation in You. Thank You that the gentle and meek and humble side of Your character can also quiet us with Your love. The fact that You delight in us – the minutiae of our lives – and rejoice in the details of our lives is incredible. 

Let us hear and experience Your song as You sing over us. 

What a picture of tenderness and yet courage, vulnerability and power, quiet and loud, meek and might. We love You Lord. Amen. 

  

God inhabits our praise

“The Lord inhabits the praises of His people” (Ps. 22:3)
  

Let that verse get down in your bones today.

The very presence of God physically dwelling, richly inhabiting, taking up residence IN OUR PRAISE. 

I picture songs weaving the fabric, words hammering things into place for His seat, hushed murmurs sanding down the wood of His throne, loud cries painting the colors that richly adorn, quiet tears becoming the jewels that bedeck His dwelling place. It is so beautiful. 

Why would He do that? Come and inhabit our praises? Come here to this place – broken earth and broken people? Emmanuel, God WITH us?

It’s almost too precious to grasp. 

And yet He does.  

 
  

Longing

“… Blessed are those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him, for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship.” (Isaiah 30: 18)

Do you ever have those moments that take to you back to a better time, when times were sweeter and days were longer, the pace was slower and life was easy?

IMG_4425

Every summer for a couple of weeks me and my brother and cousins would get to ride horses at camp. We’d catch them in the morning and groom them, saddle them up and bridle them, learn how to post or jump or canter poles; then brush them down and turn them out into pasture each day at twilight. The horses disappearing over the hill into that dusty purple end-of-day light was truly magical. So sometimes when it’s the hazy gray after sunset, or I’m reminded of their soft velvety noses, or when Georgia leans on me like they used to, I have a nostalgia that is nearly tangible.

IMG_4398

The recesses of our memory carry the weightiest things.

Maybe it’s not horses and summer camps, long summer days and family that you crave. Maybe it’s hearing the click of the stadium lights coming on, the buzz of them warming up on a Friday night.

Corn Mase - Fall 2014

Maybe it’s the smell of ballet shoes and marley floors, the hurried zip of capezio bags as the dancers change shoes between class.

IMG_3891

 

Maybe it’s slipping on an old high school sweatshirt, leaving at daybreak, and watching the sunrise while fishing.

Wooden Bridge, Roswell 2010

 

Maybe it’s chasing a dream down a long dirt road, and you know just around another bend or two you can feel that you’re almost home.

Whatever it is that takes you back to a moment in time – one you wish you could get back to – those moments of remembering how you felt, and longing to feel that again, that is how we are homesick for heaven. Look back to that verse in Isaiah.

Guntersville Lake - Nov 2014

 

We wait. We expect in earnest. We look. We long. We want victory, so sweet – most satisfying. We want someone’s perfect favor, forever love, an easy peace that freely gives and forgives. We want unwavering joy, not touched by circumstance.

 

Mostly, we want eternal, matchless, deep, unbroken companionship. Someone to walk all the days our life with – the good and the not so good – and choose to love us anyway. What if someone could love you like that? God does.

He DOES!

Dogwoods in Spring - 2014

 

“’Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid: there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is His name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth…. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then My faithful Love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (Isaiah 54:4-5,10).

Unbroken. What a strange concept, since “this broken world gives broken stories.” (TerKeurst)

What if we had something that could never be broken?

Memphis - Easter 2014

 

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” (John 3:16-17)

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14)