Friday, August 30, 2013

And his finger was pointing straight at me

And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

Weston’s thoughts today asked the question, What if? What if we lived in that sweet spot of expectation, living in hope, and really believing that anything is possible with God. Like, God, what if you just opened the door for Victor to fly back to the states to join his family? What if you just healed Victor's knee pain? What if Your Spirit just manifested himself in power in the church here? What if people would just be drawn to me because your presence is such a part of who I am?

Here, as Jesus returns to his hometown of Capernaum, some people brought him a paralytic, and it was their faith that led Him not only to heal their friend, but to forgive him of his sins. As far as I know, he wasn’t exactly kicking and screaming, but all that he did do was lie there.  It was their faith. 

So a while back, about six or seven years ago, I had a pain in the neck.  It was so severe I could barely even focus on my ever-bustling life.  I could think of nothing except this roiling gripping knife-stabbing pain.  I even went to a chiropractor.  For the first time in my life.  I am not wont to go to doctors; really I have to be dragged kicking and screaming, like Efrén and Julio have to pick me up off the floor and carry me out to the car not wanting to go.  And even though this nice man gave me little shocks and applied hot and applied cold and strung me out on his big machine, nothing happened.  LIke I said, I had a pain in the neck.  And I had totally run out of ideas and was despairing of life.  

Nicole had a friend who had just made a movie, The Finger of God.  He too was pretty much kicking and screaming rationally because some strange things were happening around him when people prayed: the sparkle dust, the jewels raining out of the sky, and all these people declaring that they had been healed.  And he kept pushing these crazy phenomena aside in his head until the craziest thing of all happened to his very boring, mundane, traditional aunt and uncle.  Their molars turned to gold.  Really and truly, and that shook him up. A lot.  So this guy took off a year of his life and filmed what God was doing all over the world, huge things with dozens, and hundreds and thousands of people. 

And we all watched this movie.  It was interesting when he was filming among the Gypsies or tribes of Africa, it all seemed great and wonderful, but when the tales came closer to home, the college campuses and suburbs of life in America, we all squirmed, because this was so far out of our day-to-day experience.  None of us were living in the What if.

And Ali and I were sitting on the couch as the movie rolled to a finish on the living room wall.  My life had slowed down to a fuzzy blank of pain in the neck, and I really couldn’t do much else but sit and fret. At the end, after we had watched Jesus reach out and touch protesting person after protesting person, one of those preacher men who I find very irritating came on.  He was one of those guys whose hair was all slicked down and his eyes bulged sort of and I began to squirm even more and look away, when suddenly he looked at the camera and basically said, “I am speaking to you.  God wants to heal you now. You, sitting there on your couch watching this movie.  God is speaking to you.” 

And that made me even more crabby and I was just about to roll my eyes, when this burning electrical heat shot up my back and swirled around my shoulder.  Just like in the movie. Really.  And the pain was gone.  Absolutely.  And it has never returned, not even after six or seven years. Ever.

So why don’t I live in this spot of Weston’s of What if, of continual expectation that God is active and powerful and at work among us?  Not just among homeless gypsies. Or African tribal people.  Here. At 220 South Country Club, just through the oleander bushes from Broadway Village.  

And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

Go and sin no more.

Dear LORD, may it be so. And may my faith be so big and unfaltering that I too will carry my friends and family with me, into Your presence so that You can reach into our lives and touch us, and say, “Beloved, take heart.”

And the movie sequel, Father of Lights, is sitting on my dresser, just waiting.