Sunday, January 10, 2016

Matthew 9:2 -- On Healing and Lessons and God's Will

"And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."
Matthew 9:2

This is an interesting time when the people expected Christ to do one thing, and he did another.  He sees the sick man before him, and he responds to his need.  It was just a different need than all of the people around thought.  A few verses later he also heals the sick man.  The initial difference between what was expected and what was given though is something that I think we run into quite often in our lives.  We so often pray, asking God to help us, and we have in mind what we think we need, but God gives us what we truly need.  We might want a new job or a new relationship, or to be healed. We might want to avoid something that seems to be hanging over our heads, or ask that a certain trial be eliminated from our lives, and instead of all of those things, we have to stay in the job or the relationship and learn to make it better.  Or we get healed of our bitterness instead of our broken leg.  Maybe we don't avoid the thing we were afraid of, but God teaches us not to be afraid of it anymore.  Maybe we have to face the trial, but we slowly learn to overcome it.  ... I think that it's important to recognize those things as answers to prayers too, and also important to leave room in our lives for God to solve things HIS way rather than ours, by always being willing to accept God's will rather than our own.  We frankly don't often know what we're doing when we ask God for things, and if he gave us exactly what we asked for and were thinking all the time, our lives would be way messier than they are now.
The part that we don't always think about is that life can't just be about avoiding pain and having fun.  It can be like that some of the time.  God isn't anti-fun or anything.  But learning how to deal with life requires some opposition.  It's like learning math, or science, or the piano, or really anything.  It takes work.  It takes thought and dedication, and if we don't put in the time and actually work on learning it, then we can regress backward and forget everything we learned in that one class or when we took lessons when we were young.  We have to work for the knowledge, then we have to build on it.  And instead, we keep asking God to give us things that we are in no way ready for, because we haven't worked or studied or invested any time or thought.  Prayer is like that, and so is repentance.  All of the gospel, really.  Instead of just asking God to poof things into our lives, maybe we should be asking what to work on next. :)  We'll have plenty of times in our lives where we really need miracles... might as well save them for the things that we really can't do on our own. :)
Today, let's first remember that God knows best.  If he forgives us instead of healing us, we're getting a screaming deal. :)  And second, let's remember that we're here on earth to learn, and if we don't jump in and decide what we're willing to work for, we're going to miss a lot of opportunities of lessons that God wants to teach us.  Maybe God will bless us, as he did the man in this verse, with both spiritual and physical healing.  If so, let's also be of good cheer and remember to be thankful, for all of the learning and the healing and the growth and the miracles that we see in our lives... that's all coming from God.

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