It began to spin and at first it was fun.
The constant movement, flowing up and down – feeling alive as the music played on. The wind whipping through your hair and you looked out from your perch. You were moving!
There is often much joy in the things of our childhood. Memories of simpler times when the everydayness of life falls away and you find yourself being present. This moment happens to be on a noble steed, painted awash with color as music blares from the speakers.
Who doesn’t love a merry-go-round?
Round and round you go. Maybe it’s not your first time on one? You know the drill. Pick your horse, quickly choosing your color and scoot yourself on before they begin their dance. Up, down, all around you go. Of course there’s the choice of the bench that doesn’t glide up and down, but who would want that? Boring.
No matter what town you show up in, which carnival you choose, you are bound to find one. A merry-go-round. Who thought up that name anyways? A “merry” go round! Like going round and round is always merry. I dare say I might get a bit nauseous at times. Regardless of how fast or how slow you go, the direction is still the same, round and round and round and ROUND.
Have you been there?
Living life that hasn’t changed trajectory? Spinning in circles that don’t slow down. Relationship struggles. Health concerns. Financial burdens. Round and round you spin. Like a circus ride that never ends. It appears that no matter what you say, what you do, how you act – the ride keeps on going. Circular. Unending. Constant.
Tiring, isn’t it?
What began as joy filled and an exciting time – turned into a monotonous one. This ride is not merry, oh – far from it! As you spin faster and faster, perhaps you might be trying to gauge the moment you can jump off. Saying enough, you’re done – tempting, isn’t it?
There’s the question that begs an answer. What happened? How did you get here? And let’s be real, how can you stop this nonstop course that spins around until you’re dizzy and can’t find your feet to stand. I’ve been contemplating this question for some time, sitting at the feet of Jesus. Asking Him for an answer – this is all I have.
“ Some days later when Jesus came back to Capernaum, people heard that Jesus was back in town and many gathered at the house where He was staying. Soon the crowd overflowed from the house into the streets, and still more people pressed forward to hear Jesus teaching the message of God’s kingdom. Four men tried to bring a crippled friend to Him; but since the crowd prevented their carrying him close enough to get Jesus’ attention, they climbed up onto the roof, opened a hole in it, and lowered the paralyzed man on his mat down to Jesus. Jesus recognized the faith of these men.
Jesus: Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1-5)
There is my moment of truth. Your moment of truth. Sins being forgiven. I am that man on the mat – unable to move and dependent on others faith to pick me up, climb up on a roof and lower me down!
I think about the agony of not being able to walk and living on that mat. Being dependent on so many for each and every moment in life. Bringing me food, helping me cleanse myself, everyday activities we take for granted. Life echos the sounds of the merry-go-rounds music – the day in and day out activities spinning fast. Round and round.
Sometimes you want to just step off as you are thrust around, take a breather and gain some perspective. Switch to a different horse and see the view from there. Perhaps you ask questions like the paralytic. Can I get up and walk myself to the bathroom? Can I stand and feed myself? Can I enjoy the pleasures and the joys of this life?
You see that man on the mat could have remained that way. We don’t know how, or why – but he ended up at the feet of Jesus. Maybe he begged others to carry him there. Perhaps he had heard countless stories of the Christ and wanted see if it was true. Could this man from Galilee help or even heal him? Somehow his nuggets of faith helped him to see where he needed to go and inspired others to get him there. He knew he needed Jesus.
That was enough.
There he was in the middle of a crowd and he became the center of their attention. All eyes were on him – and on Jesus. The wonderful thing is Jesus knew exactly what the man needed. The paralytic man probably went there thinking he needed to walk again, to get off that mat – his own merry go round eager for relief. The words Jesus spoke didn’t even touch those thoughts and needs of the heart – oh no, our Savior went deeper.
You sins are forgiven.
He truly could have healed that man and have him stand up and walk immediately. He could have used that moment to teach others about who he was and His power. But our God, what does He do? He loved. In that moment, he spoke to that man greatest need – his sins. His spiritual well being was so much more important than his physical.
The mans expectations may have been shattered in what was taking place. I can see the quizzical expression on his face now – what do you mean my sins are forgiven? Jesus drives home His deep love and envelopes this paralytic man in His love. He hears him and he heals him.
“Some scribes were sitting in the crowd, and they didn’t like what they were hearing.
Scribes: What does this Jesus think He is doing? This kind of talk is blasphemy, an offense against the Most High! Only God can forgive sins.
At once Jesus realized what they were thinking. He turned to them.
Jesus: Why do My words trouble you so? Think about this: is it easier to tell this paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to tell him, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk”? Still, I want to show you that the Son of Man has been given the authority on earth to forgive sins. (to the paralytic) Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.
The man rose to his feet, immediately rolled up his mat, and walked out into the streets. Everyone in the crowd was amazed. All they could do was shake their heads, thank God for this miracle, and say to each other, “We’ve never seen anything like that!” (Mark 2:6-12)
If not already engulfed in confusion, the paralytic man watches as Jesus, the man he has such faith in, not only forgives his sins – but now commands him to “get up, pick up your mat and go home.” Just like that. Get up. Pick Up. Go home.
Look at where you have been all your life. Stuck on that mat. Frozen to that place where you can’t get away from. And now – this man you believe in, have heard of, is telling you to get up. Have you ever looked squarely into the eye of your difficult situation and thought – get up! Hear Him now – move.
The Scriptures say the “man rose to his feet, immediately rolled up his mat, and walked out into the streets. Everyone in the crowd was amazed.” He rose to his feet. He got up. He moved. Faith takes action dear friends. What would have happened if he spent his entire life on the mat and refused to believe and get up? Living his life as chained to that mat when he was already free? Round and round and round.
Jesus already freed him from his paralysis, he was healed. Yet he needed to believe it to receive it. Claiming the words of Jesus which breathed life into his soul and his body. His sins were forgiven and he was healed! Healed.
Try to imagine not being able to walk all your life and then in one moment, you can! All you have dreamed about – what you could do, things you would see, ready and waiting for you to explore. But first, you have to believe. Not doubt, believe.
And I feel the horse buck and the merry go round ease up just a bit. It can slow down, you can dismount and have some control. So go ahead and pick a new horse. Grab that bench seat and ease in slow. Let the changes wash over you slowly as the view changes and you hear Him speak through the music.
No matter what is keeping you chained to your mat today. Regardless of whatever horse you rode in on. You do have a choice to stop the music. To end the ride. To pick up your mat – filled with your burdens and care and see that Jesus already has released you.
Get up, dear one.
Scripture taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.