Hey there! Hope all y’all had a great Fourth of July! We had a great time. It’s always fun to see family, especially my grandson. So, now that the rush of the holiday is over, it’s time to settle back and relax a minute. Grab a glass of tea and find a shady spot!
Last week, one of the readings at church was the story of a paralytic whose friends brought to Jesus for healing. I was also given a prayer by St. Padre Pio, mentioning Lazarus. Interesting stuff.
You may remember a couple of stories in the Bible about people bringing a paralytic to Jesus. Once four guys got together and literally put a hole in someone’s roof so they could lower the patient to Jesus for healing. One time, Jesus approached the paralytic man by the pool of Bethesda and healed him.
Paralysis isn’t always physical. We can be emotionally paralyzed by pain or grief. We can be spiritually paralyzed by sin or fear. We can be paralyzed on some level by betrayal, unforgiveness, guilt, anger or hatred. We can be paralyzed by indecisiveness over which course to take at some point in our life. There are many forms of paralysis.
Sometimes physical therapy can reverse physical paralysis, through retraining and re-strengthening muscles and limbs. It’s hard work, and takes time. But the results are so worth it! I’m thinking particularly of traumatic brain injuries. I know of a young lady who took a very bad spill on a horse and suffered severe brain trauma from the accident. She was taken to a state of the art rehab center where she worked extremely hard for a few months, and also became the focus of thousands of people lifting her up in prayer to God. Today, she’s fully recovered.
Are you paralyzed in some area of your life? Just can’t seem to move? Maybe it’s time to ‘go to therapy’. Maybe you need a counselor; maybe you just need the Great Physician’s therapies of forgiveness and love. You might need to forgive someone who hurt you, or you might need to ask someone to forgive you for something that hurt them. Maybe you need God’s forgiveness and love to set you back on your feet.
Do you have a friend or loved one who seems ‘stuck’ in a destructive lifestyle, or just a few degrees off kilter and can’t seem to get it together? You can’t fix them. But… you can bring them to the one who can! Remember the friends of the paralytic? They carried him to Jesus, who healed him. We can carry people to Jesus. Not physically. But maybe we can talk to them and let them know how much He loves them. Maybe that will give them the courage to go to Him on their own, and be healed.
But what if they won’t or can’t go? What if they won’t hear you? At least the paralytics in the Bible consented to be taken, I suppose. But what about someone you may have even given up all hope for? That one with a chronic illness? That one stuck in addictions? That one working on their third or fourth failed marriage? I can give you hope from a couple of places in Scripture. Remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus? As long as they’re breathing, there’s hope.
But what about those who won’t hear a word from you, who are so far into their own darkness they can’t see daylight? I have hope. Remember Lazarus? He was dead. D-e-a-d, DEAD. Four days dead. In Jewish custom, the spirit lingered near the body for two or three days, and could ‘wake up’. But after three days? That was ‘dead indeed’ dead. Lazarus was dead indeed, no hope of him waking back up. No hope of him walking out of that grave. And nobody was trying to get him out, either. At least those other paralytics had friends who were trying to get them to Jesus. Not Lazarus. Jesus was no place to be found until it was too late.
Lazarus couldn’t ask to be healed. But when Mary and Martha ‘prayed’ – they believed that Jesus was the resurrection and the life – Jesus healed Lazarus – he brought him back from the dead! Don’t give up on anyone! Even if they seem irreversibly and hopelessly stuck in addictions or other sin, there’s hope as long as they have a breath left.
What about you? Do you feel stuck or dead someplace? Do you need some help, or know someone else who does? Find a pastor or priest. They will be happy to pray with you. Jesus still does miracles of healing, including the occasional ‘resurrection’!