And when He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”
I sat in my living room this morning in a trance, almost. We just finished four performances (I dislike using that word, but nothing else is coming to me at 5 A.M.) of our church’s Living Christmas Tree. My back is hurting, my feet are tired beyond tired and I don’t know that I want to see the inside of our church for another month, let alone on Wednesday. I know that feeling will change between now and then since our church is a second home to me.
I prayed on my armor, first thing when I sat down with my Bible. I feel good there. Then I just sat on the couch. No real thoughts connecting in my head. No desire, other than a passing one, to write in my prayer journal. “Okay, God, why did you wake me at 4:30 in the morning if there wasn’t something important to meet with You about?”
Beyond the “duh” moment of just MEETING with God for no reason other than fellowship, came the urge to flip through the Bible in one of my favorite ways. I close it, stick my fingernail in a portion without trying to figure out what part of Scripture I’m headed for and open the book to see what God has for me. I, in my tired mind, thought I was somewhere in one of the Old Testament prophets. Nope, it was Mark 2.
I read the story of the paralytic all the way through, but my mind really stopped on the first part. I have to wonder who was the most determined? Was the paralytic the one telling the four men to climb onto the roof, carrying him mind you, and then to DIG into someone else’s roof? Then, not only did they dig that hole, they lowered him THROUGH it. We’ll never know who’s bright idea this was, but this isn’t like some of the parables Christ told. This was real. Someone wanted to be healed by Him so badly they went to these kinds of extremes. And we can’t even be bothered some days to get in our cushy cars and drive to church on Sundays.
I never said I was going to be soft on things so get ready for a punch. :-) WE are the paralytic and we’re suffering. WE don’t have the determination to have our friends dig a hole in someone else’s roof and get our healing. Wouldn’t want to inconvenience someone by putting a hole in their roof, how rude! Or to ask someone to do something we could do ourselves. We don’t have the desire to be with Christ no matter what. Oh, we give the lip service to living for Christ, but we do nothing which shows that for the most part.
I know some who have gone to far away lands and done mission trips for Him. I’m not knocking that at all. I have to admit I’m glad God hasn’t called me to do that and follow through on it. I AM knocking our everyday lifestyles, especially here in the good old U.S.A. How many reading this today have opened their Bibles before they checked their email? I didn’t, I confess. How many of us OPEN our Bibles and spend ANY significant time with the One Who can heal us, body and soul? How much study have we done on a certain word in Scripture to see what God’s original message was to us rather than man’s interpretation? Or even to see how many verses use that word? How many of us have spent more than the reading time required in Scripture without really stopping to think about a passage? How many of us have prayed more than the cursory, “Help me today, God, to get through _________” fill in the blank? How many of us have sought the answer to that “get through” in the Book which gives us all the answers?
God has shown me that His church, the body of believers, is sick. There are few healthy specimens of Christ walking around in the world today. Many live by their own insights and experiences rather than seeking the Truth for how to live a life in Christ. We are the paralytics and the lepers desperately needing the healing of Christ, but lacking the drive to seek it, doing whatever it takes to get it.
Here’s my challenge to you. Get off your duff and start making God first in your day and life. He asks for the first fruits of our labor and that includes our waking. Sacrifice a bit for Him. He did a lot more for us.
Mark 1:35 – “And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.”
He’ll meet you there. He promised.