(DISCLAIMER: This is my personal account. I don’t believe sin always causes pain and suffering. I do believe that everyone’s situation is different. I also believe that God spoke to me through my pain and felt Him leading me to share my experience with others.)
I am familiar with waking up in pain after suffering from back problems over the past 17 years, but I was unprepared for the pain I woke up with on Thursday that left me unable to walk even with help for over a day. Thursday was a big day. My daughter was going to meet her kindergarten teacher and then we were going shopping together. I was going to make it special. Instead, we hurriedly went from store to store getting everything we needed. It was only through the grace of God I made it through the afternoon.
By the time we got home, walking was unbearable. Thinking a hot bath would do me good, I was not prepared for the pain and inability to get in the tub on my own as I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg and couldn’t lift it high enough to get it over the side. Somehow I made it through the night with the help of Aleve or, more likely, God’s grace. After two muscle relaxers and two more Aleve and much needed sleep, I woke up this morning able to walk without pain.
Last night, God reminded me of Jesus’ healing of the paralytic spoken about in John 5:1-15. This man had been an invalid for 38 years. I can only imagine that one day he woke in terrible pain unable to walk. Unlike today while we have access to medical care and pain medication, this man did not and had to suffer. God only knows what he did to relieve the pain. Then, he was left paralyzed with no one to take care of him. The fact that he lived 38 years in this state is remarkable.
Jesus asks him if he wants to get well. Of course, we know that he would want to walk again. I know I did. But, as always, Jesus’ question does not involve physical healing only. Yes, Jesus in His compassion desired physical healing for this man, but He also wanted spiritual healing to follow. Jesus would only heal the man physically because that’s what he was seeking. The lesson from this man’s experience is while praying for physical healing we should also pray for spiritual healing and ask for faith and the power to stop sinning.
There are three other accounts about Jesus healing a paralytic in Matthew (9:1-13), Mark (2:1-12) and Luke (5:17-26). In Mark and Luke’s version, Jesus tells the paralytic that his sins are forgiven and to get up, take his mat and go home. God and I talk every morning during my walk. I have been struggling with a number of issues and I needed a reminder that God has forgiven me. The problem has been that I refused to let go of the past, embrace His forgiveness and move on with His admonition to go and sin no longer. It is not that I will be without sin; however, the sins of which I have been remembering will no longer be a part of my life.
So, if you have been unable to move forward in your life because you are questioning God’s forgiveness, get up, pick up your mat and go home—and sin no more. God, in His grace, mercy and love, desires this for you.