(Today’s devotion comes from this week’s first day’s Bible reading passage. See plan below.)
My pride, insecurity, and fierce hold on my comfort level challenge my ability to love others well. I give of my time and my money, my energy … but only so much. To love deeper, I need to sit. Sit with my Savior, the One who floods my soul with everything good and right and lovely. And I need to sit in other people’s pain so that it becomes my own.
Years ago, I watched a profound video that halted my thoughts and convicted my soul. In it, a man was advocating for orphans he’d encountered personally while visiting a developing country. Seeing them face-to-face as they scrounged through garbage cans, those children, once statistics easily forgotten, became real. And in that moment, God asked him how he’d respond if the child digging through trash were his child. Then God told him the child was His—God’s.
I have to pause there. I know I can’t take on every wrong, but I can speak love and hope to those God brings near. Through grace and truth-filled actions, I can introduce them to my Savior. Even if that means actively tearing through the barriers that keep them from Him.
I can follow the example of the men who carried a paralytic—perhaps a friend or family member—to Christ. Scripture doesn’t tell us how far they’d traveled, whether a mile or ten. During this time many considered paralytics cursed by God. As a result, these individuals often experienced ongoing rejection. I imagine the loneliness hurt most. But the men in John 12 stood by their friend. Even if that meant pushing through a throng of desperate people, embracing the stigma of that of that time of associating with a paralytic, and potentially angering the religious elite—those with the power to expel people from their faith community. (John 12:42.)
The Bible says everyone “gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door …” (Mark 2:2, NIV).
Pause to envision these men standing on the outskirts, surveying the crowd. Place yourself in that position for a moment, needing to push through with someone our culture stigmatized.
Who is that person for you? The one our society keeps on the fringe, ignores, and even disdains?
If you were those men, would you have hung back, telling yourself all the reasons Jesus didn’t have time for your friend?
That’s not how these men responded. Verses 2-5 tells us, “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.”
That’d be the equivalent of someone removing your window to crawl inside your house. Polite, civilized people just don’t do that sort of thing.
Those desperate to see their loved ones encounter Christ do.
The result? Verse 5 states, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”
When Jesus saw their faith.
Their faith propelled these men into action. They knew their friend needed Jesus and couldn’t reach Him on his own, so they bridged the gap. They broke through the barriers keeping the paralytic from life, and received what they longed for and more.
Reading this, I wonder—who does God want me to step into the gap for? What “roof” might I need to unhinge or “crowd” might I need to push through? More importantly, will I? Or will I stand on the fringe, waiting for an easy opening, one that fits my schedule, my comfort level?
What about you? Who might God be asking you to bring to Him? Will you?
For those following our chronological New Testament Bible reading plan:
Speaking of loving one another well, let’s start with one of our most precious relationships. Join me and my Wholly Loved team for our upcoming mother-daughter conference, Beautiful Mess.
Find out more HERE.