I’ve always liked the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. As a child my imagination ran wild with the idea of a man being lowered through the roof of a house. As an adult, however, I’m drawn to verse five. Jesus perceives the evil thoughts of the teachers of the law and directly questions if it’s easier to forgive sin or heal. Almost as an afterthought, Jesus follows this statement by healing the paralytic with the simple words “Get up, take your mat and go home”. The focus that I missed as a child, is Jesus’ power over sin. The healing was merely a physical demonstration of Jesus’ power for the nay-sayers present.
Part of the reason I’m drawn to this miracle is that I’ve witnessed family members suffering from chronic illnesses. My grandmother was an amazing woman of God who was crippled by arthritis at a very young age. Every step she took was with great effort and pain and her hands were twisted and mangled from years of arthritis running rampant through her body. My grandmother passed away almost 20 years ago, but I’ve thought about her more frequently since my daughter, Jocelyn, was diagnosed with arthritis as a 10-year old. It’s tough to watch your child ache and make difficult decisions she shouldn’t have to make. Because of this, I have a better understanding of the paralytic’s friends. I get how you would carry someone you love for miles and devise a cockamamie plan for dangling them through roof tiles. I would love nothing more than for Jocelyn to be healed of arthritis, but I’m missing the point of the story again: Jesus forgave sins. Jesus has power over sin and healing.
I also need to be reminded that God’s plan is much greater than I can imagine. My grandmother was an amazing woman of God. Her physical challenges made her who she was. Because of her challenges, she fought even harder to serve the Lord with the abilities that she had. Healing my grandmother would have been an answer to prayer, but there were many blessings in the physical body she was given that allowed her to testify to God’s grace. My grandmother’s legacy gives me great confidence in God’s plan for my daughter. I will continue to fervently pray for Jocelyn’s healing, trusting that God’s plan for her life is much greater than I could imagine and remembering too, that the point of the story is that God forgives our sins. We have eternal life and a future hope where aches and pains are no more.