Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Do Choose!

Once, when Jesus was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. “Go,” he said, “and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.” But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed—“I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.” Luke 5:12-26 

There have been times in my life when I can forget what God desires for my life, as well as for everyone else. God does not want us to suffer or be broken. We humans are broken and sinful, and we are often undone by disease. Often times, well meaning people will tell us that suffering is good for the soul, pain reminds you that you are alive and so forth. None of that is helpful when you cannot get up from your bed, or when your body is wracked with pain and covered with disease.

We find Jesus in two separate instances where his only goal is to bring healing. We find him in these circumstances a good deal. The incarnate God wanted nothing more than to bring healing to the world. The obstacles were put in his way by humans, misguided, controlling and fearful humans.  The ones who loved so well and lowered their friend to Jesus found healing and forgiveness as well. God's desire for our lives is to find healing and forgiveness. Sometimes it happens in very strange times and places, and we are invited to be ready at all times for love does not keep time or scores.

Today, I ask God to help me always be ready for healing and forgiveness. May I let go of being right, let go of the identity the disease has given me and lean in to love and possibility. May we all make ready for the desire of God's heart.

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