Thirty-eight years lying on a mat. Imagine the things that mat has seen. Though you are desperate to get off the mat, the mat has become quite comfortable to you in a sick sort of way. It is almost part of you now…your identity; who you are. You despise the mat and cling to the mat at the same time.
“Do you want to get well?” That is the question Jesus asks.
Do you even want to get off the mat? Do you even want to be well?
Of course! The impulse reaction. But then you start thinking about life up from the mat. Unknown. Scary. Unpredictable. You start to wonder if the misery of the mat is preferred to the messy unknown. You start to wonder if you will make it apart from the mat. You rationalize that laying by the pool and living off of scraps and handouts isn’t so bad. The real truth is, it seems so impossible.
“I have no one to help me….” “If I could just….” “If only….”
The thing that put you on the mat isn’t in your head. It is real. It is hard. It is painful.
You’ve been trying to get off the mat for so. many. years. You know what it takes to get off the mat, and you know you don’t have it. You’ve long given up, but yet you keep at it nonetheless.
Are you willing to try something else? To loosen the grip on what you think you need to get well? Perhaps there is another way.
“Get up, take up your bed, and walk,” Jesus says.
You shift your eyes from the “magic” pool to the eyes of Jesus. And at once you know you are healed.
Louie Giglio says, “Every day we hold on to something with a clenched fist is a day we miss the possibility of God putting something amazing in our hands. When we let go, we don’t lose out.”
What keeps us on our mat? What are we looking to as the “magic” pool…the “if only” and “what if” we think is the answer? What if we slowly unclenched our cramped hands from around the edges of the mat and looked instead to Jesus?
And then we get off our mat. We do the impossible. We walk in freedom and healing. We pick our mat up and carry it instead of letting it carry us. We carry it not to shame us, but to remind us from where we have come. And in the same power that got us up off the mat, we never lay back down on that dirty, smelly, wretched, battered mat. God, let it be so.
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