“Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd,
they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through
it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on” Mark 2:4 (NIV).
I started my day listening to Matt Redman’s song, 10,000
Reasons. If you’re not familiar with it, do yourself a favor, take a moment to listen and allow his words to flow over you! For me, this is such an emotionally packed
song; I haven’t been able to listen to it for several years. You see three years ago, my husband, Bob, lay in a coma due to a traumatic brain injury, he teetered at death’s door for six months. Everyday, as I drove to the hospital, I would listen to the songwriter’s poignant prayer-song:
The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes *
When life is easy, who can’t sing God’s praises and bless him at the end of the day? (Yet, how many times have I have missed this opportunity when life is good?) But to praise God when tragedy befalls, that’s a supernatural gift. I wanted to believe the words in the song. But where was God? Why did he allow this to happen to us? I felt abandoned. Everything I thought or taught was being tested. Did I really believe what I claimed to believe? I groaned in despair. I wanted to trust God like Job, who said, “Though the Lord slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15). I pleaded with God to help me remain true, but my faith seemed vacant. I wanted to give up. Yet, that inner voice echoed back, “Where would you go? To whom would you turn?”
In the story of the paralyzed man in Mark 2, his friends knew that no matter what it took, the only solution for him was to get him to see Jesus. So they hoisted him up on the roof,
and then dug through the mud and straw, making sure the hole was large enough so they could maneuver their friend down through the roof and into the room to present him to Jesus; it was no easy task! The Scripture doesn’t say the man said or did anything, other than lie there, and then after Jesus healed him, he got up and walked away.
As I listened to the song today, it occurred to me that I had been like the paralyzed man in Mark 2:4, I was “down for the count,” my faith was paralyzed. Unbeknownst to Matt
Redman (who I’ve never met), during those dark days his prayer-song helped me to see Jesus. But closer to home, it is our family and friends who have helped us see Jesus, through their companionship and prayers for healing, or the many meals that have been lovingly prepared and delivered, or the family and friends who’ve sat with Bob to give me respite, or the sending of cards of love and encouragement (sometimes with gas cards or money tucked inside, sent just when we needed it most). All these gracious gifts of mercy have helped our family remember that we are not forgotten, we are loved by God and them! I realize now my groanings of despair were prayers the Spirit understood and prayed in my behalf when I was unable to do
so (Romans 8:26). God proved he was faithful; he did not let me go!
I am learning that we may sometimes feel like the
paralyzed man with 10,000 reasons not to get up—to stay paralyzed.
But as God's children he promises to never leave us or
forsake us. God will use our suffering to conform us into the
likeness of his beloved son (Romans 8:29). And like the paralyzed
friend who could do nothing about his situation, we too must sometimes
wait for God to intervene until his will is accomplished. Other times,
even though it might not be easy or convenient, God will use us to be
the friend who takes our “paralyzed friend” to see Jesus, to give
him 10,000 reasons to get back up.
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I
have overcome the world" (John 16:33). The paralyzed man could do
nothing to help himself until his friends presented him to Jesus to be
rescued. Jesus, however, willingly laid down his life, to be presented
to the Father, to rescue us! Jesus chose to go to the cross for the
joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12:2). What was that joy? To
present his beloved children, whole and complete before the Father, to
be prepared for life in his Kingdom--here and now--and eventually for
life in a new Heaven and a new
Earth! This gives us hope, and the joyful assurance that God is
working out his plan; we do not walk alone.
Lord, God, help us to be faithful to you in whatever role you allow us to be in, whether it be the friend in need, or the friend who sees a need and brings that friend to Jesus. Help us look to you, so when the end of life draws near, we can keep on singing for ten thousand
years, and then forevermore! Amen.
Update on my husband: Bob continues to
improve and is getting better at communicating. Whether God heals him
completely on this side of Heaven is uncertain, but we know God is up
to something beyond what we can see or understand. Please pray for us
to remain true, and trust God to work out his plan in our lives. Thank
you for all those who faithfully pray for us and support our ministry
here at SundaySchoolNetwork.com!
Copyright 2016 Sarah Keith