December 7, 2012


I’m a part of the ‘cup half empty’ population that tends to focus on negatives. Being grateful requires effort. Worse, I often miss the value of negative experiences and complain about them instead. Because of this, every now and then God smacks me on the side of the head. He did it again this morning.

Here is a negative situation turned positive:

And they came, bringing to him (Jesus) a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:3–5)

Today’s devotional reading is a one-sentence comment: “Had it not been for the palsy, this man might never have seen Christ!”

The paralyzed man may have had a good attitude or he might have been a whiner. Either way, he did have some friends who thought Jesus could help him. They went to great effort to get through the crowds and put this man right in front of Jesus. I try to imagine the bumpy ride on the stretcher and the embarrassment of being put down into someone’s house through a hole in the roof. Had I been that man, I might have protested. Hope for healing would not be powerful enough to override my negativity or pessimism.

However, most of the time, I am able to see the hand of God in the beauty of life. I can look for evidence of His power and glory, yet realize this is me seeing Him, my eyes looking in His direction. It is in the worst situations of my life when all is dark and my eyes unseeing, that the opposite happens. Instead of me making a hole in the roof to get to Him, Christ appears and reveals Himself to me. 

I never see it coming. He drops in even without an invitation, unexpected and startling. I am filled with awe and the sense that He is watching over me, looking for me, caring deeply that I am in trouble.

When life is more positive, does He show Himself like that? Not to me. Also, in all Christian biographies and life stories I’ve read, God reserves this deeper vision of Himself for the darkest moments, the worst experiences, when our need is the greatest. Otherwise, we go our way as usual, trusting Him, yet not as nearly aware of Him as we could be. 

Had it not been for the most horrible experiences in my life that have given me the greatest sorrow, I might never have seen Jesus Christ. And I complain about those experiences? How totally foolish.

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