This month I’m reading through the gospel of Mark. I’m slowly digesting one chapter a day. I’m allowing God’s words to unsettle my soul enough to draw me closer to Him and receive His grace.
It didn’t take long for the unsettling to happen. On the second day of my journey through this short book I read a story that made me uncomfortable. Mark gives the account of four strong men who come to Jesus bringing along a friend who couldn’t walk–a paralytic.
The very first words Jesus said to the man lying helplessly on the stretcher were, “Your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5).
Now put yourself in the position of the man on the mat. Were those the words you were hoping to hear? Probably not. Most likely the words you wanted to hear were, “You are healed.”
But Jesus knew what the man needed most. What the paralytic needed more than healing was grace. What he needed more than the ability to walk was the ability to proceed on God’s path of life. What he needed most was forgiveness.
Like the man on the mat I come to Jesus with many pressing needs. I am convinced that if God would just grant this one request I would be happy. Okay, maybe two things. Or three.
But Jesus knows what I need most:
And because He died an awful death in my place, because He defeated our most terrible foe, because He rose triumphant, forgiveness is available. Because the Holy Spirit worked faith in my heart and drew me closer to the cross, forgiveness is mine.
If you know the story of the paralytic, you know that Jesus didn’t make the man wait long before He also told him, “Get up and take your mat and go home” (Mark 2:12). The man received what he needed the most and what he probably wanted the most.
But what if Jesus had not healed the lifeless limbs? Would the man have been content? Would he been disappointed but then realize that peace in his soul was worth far more than strength in his legs?
The reason this story unsettled my soul is that I fear I would not have been satisfied with just the gift of forgiveness. I fear this because I often go to Jesus with what some perceived need and forget He has already given me what I require most. The desperate longings in my soul can seem more important than my most desperate need for forgiveness. And so I am not content.
Perhaps you can relate. You are facing loss. Pain. Discouragement. Your spirit is not content.
Maybe together we can pray that we would realize that God has already met our most crucial need. That He has given us grace. Healing for our souls. Life in His love.
Pray for contentment for the greatest gift: Forgiveness.