I have a friend going through an extremely difficult trial. I absolutely hate knowing that someone I love hurts, and I can’t make it better. But those are the times my prayers are most raw. Those are the times when I pray not out of obligation but out of the heaviness of my heart. My heart literally aches for her. I want to take away the pain and sadness, and I can’t. There’s no better place to know God than when you’re helpless. It dawned on me today that she is not the only one hurting while loved ones stand nearby. And like my friend, you, too, may be holding that love at arm’s length. It hurts to be wounded, but it’s a pain like nothing else to let that wound be reopened. So we keep people at a distance who make us feel vulnerable. And that’s what love does. It exposes a wound – not to cause more hurt but because you have to let Love see it, so Love can heal it.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in Mark chapter 2. I talk about it a lot not just because it’s a great story; it’s my story. It’s about a man who was sick. He didn’t have the flu; he was paralyzed. You can’t really put make up on that and pretend everything is ok. It’s visible. It’s obvious. Everyone could see his problem, exposed for the world, and that he was helpless to fix himself. And sometimes we have to get to that place, too. That’s why if you cover up the headaches, eventually they will become so debilitating that they can’t be ignored. If you keep the abuse a secret, it will isolate you from the world. If you hide the turmoil in the marriage, it will grow until it feels like it will consume you. If you cover up the wound, the infection will continue to grow under the surface. Often, the infection has to become evident to others before we address it. This man’s problem was clear. And a solution was no where in sight…to him.
When you’re paralyzed, your viewpoint is limited to what you can see from your incapacitated position. From his mat, the man saw nowhere to turn. But his friends could see Jesus. From where they stood, they could see the answer that alluded their friend. But it’s one thing to see the answer. It’s another thing to get there. These men could tell the man about Jesus all day long. They could preach of other miracles he performed and people he healed. They could describe how great the man’s life would be if he would go and let Jesus heal him. But all that talk would be meaningless to a man who can’t move. He couldn’t get himself to Jesus no matter how hard he tried or how bad he wanted to go. It was literally impossible for him to get to Jesus..on his own.
So the man did what we fight against so fiercely. He laid down, and let his friends carry him. He didn’t tell them where to go or what to do. He didn’t know the best route to take, and he had to admit that. He had to err to their wisdom and better view of the situation. He had to trust them. Getting to Jesus wasn’t easy. The friends had to go to great lengths to help. Because they couldn’t get through the crowd, the friends made a hole in the roof of the building and lowered the man to Jesus. That man couldn’t walk; forget about climbing a building, making a hole and lowering himself through it. He couldn’t see where to go until he let them lead him. He would have never gotten to Jesus if he forced his friends away. He would have never experienced healing without admitting he couldn’t make it better on his own.
And he did experience healing. He was made completely whole! If you look closely at verse 5, you’ll see one of the most beautiful promises. It says “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’.” Did you catch it? He saw THEIR faith. It didn’t take just the faith to believe Jesus could heal. It took a man being willing to let his friends carry him. It took all of their faith. It took steps the man couldn’t see or take on his own. It took walking, climbing, digging and lowering. Together.
Sister, those people aren’t standing by to watch you squirm. They are waiting and pleading for you to let them help. When you love someone, you want what’s best for them. That friend or family or doctor or therapist doesn’t want you to hurt anymore than you do. But they can’t do anything if you hide that wound from them. They can’t comfort, encourage or enlighten what you won’t share. They can’t carry you to Jesus if you won’t lay down and let them.
Someone wants to help. Her heart is aching because she can see where you need to go and that you can’t get there alone. She loves you enough to carry your cot. Will you let her?