Mark 2: 5
In this section of the Bible, we read about a group that came together for the sake of a friend in need. They desperately hoped that Jesus was all that He was known to be. They became just convinced enough that they were willing to lower their friend’s bed through a cut in a roof, just so they could lay him at the feet of Jesus.
In Jesus they didn’t just see a rebellious local celebrity that was stirring up trouble among the religious authority. They didn’t just see a simple carpenter that had suddenly become known for giving sight to the blind and delivering sermons in the streets that made hypocrites angry. They did not think He was less devout for being seen publicly with drunks and prostitutes. In Jesus they saw hope, life, and great Power.
And Jesus looked into them and saw a faith so deep that he said, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Then that was it.
You can almost see the smoke coming out of the group of men’s ears and the frowns on their faces as they thought, Wait a minute. This isn’t what we asked for. Why do we need forgiveness if all we want is new life for our hurting friend? We just want another chance for him. But what Jesus just gave us sure doesn’t feel like a second chance. In fact…. it feels like a let-down. They may have even wondered, did we put our hopes in a lie? Or is there something wrong with us?
New Testament Christians might read this and scoff, how on earth could those people dare doubt the power of the Messiah? After all of the miracles they had witnessed? How could they question Him?
But in truth, are we much different than the confused crowd of onlookers? At one time or another, aren’t we hoping for a miracle and when it doesn't happen as expected, don't we usually first doubt God then ourselves? Maybe you are getting up there in years and you are still hoping that one day you’ll meet “the one” and get married. Or maybe you are still waiting to hear from God about a better paying job or you’re currently in need of more money for a past due bill.
With hope we go to Jesus in prayer and sometimes we are met with no response. And sometimes the response has come during yet another Wednesday night sermon where the Pastor says that if Jesus didn’t do one more thing for us after dying on the cross, then He’d done enough. Sounds great but does it have to make us feel so ungrateful?
Or maybe things are more complicated and you are newly saved (or fresh from another ‘re-dedication to the Lord’ ) and it has only been a day or two since you had a drink. Or it has been a few weeks since you’ve answered his or her middle of the night “R u still up?” text but last night you were seriously tempted or even gave in and now feel guilty for it.
Maybe you have finally gotten past the point of knowing you need help and you just started to reach your arm out for Jesus. Before you start thinking that this “I’m saved or Trust in the Lord ” business is a waste of time, know that God has not stopped listening to you. He sees where you are, He knows your struggles, He knows that you are nowhere near perfect.
But Jesus is. And He has compassion and mercy. The Lord will forgive us for our doubts and especially our sins and He will meet us if we trust Him and stay the course. Falling isn’t quitting. But no longer seeking Him is.
Guess what happened in the story above?
Even as other observers began to think in their hearts, “Who was Jesus to be forgiving sins?”—(doubting God), the men still stayed where they were and waited for Jesus. He did not disappoint. After stating His power, He commands the man sickened with palsy to get up and walk. In fact, the bible says, “and immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw it on this fashion!”
Have enough faith in Him that you go out of your way to seek Him and fall at His feet. And even if you get a response that you don’t expect, keep trusting….and waiting. God will show you His glory and folks will call it a miracle.
Very often, God uses awkward situations, moments of doubt, or mid-life pauses to remind us of His perfect timing. Don’t give up just yet. Don’t doubt your commitment to Him. Believe that one day your current trial will end. Even when others began to question your faith or even whisper about your choices, know that because of your faith, God will speak power into what is broken in your life and give you a clean hope and a future. Be at peace with Jesus’ eternal promise and let God show His mighty power in your life. Take up your burdens and walk toward Him, reach out to Him. “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand and touched him, and saith unto him, I will, be thou clean.” Mark 1:41. Rise up and walk in faith.