“The power of the Lord was behind his works…”
Monday, 7 December 2020
All of us, who have lived through dark times in our lives, moments when we were emotionally, psychologically, socially, spiritually paralysed and unable to find our way to the Lord, feel a powerful resonance with this story.
In such moments it is all too often our friends who open ways for us. Friends who encourage, support and challenge us to be open to new, creative ways of encountering the healing power of God. They urge us on when the obstacles that seem to crowd out our chances of meeting the Lord are overwhelming. They help us identify ways that we might never have thought of, the equivalents of ‘going through the roof.’
In these Advent days, we are encouraged to be open to the surprises that friendship brings with it, to the goodness that is present in others. When our energies flag and the road seems hard, to be humble enough to let others lift us up and carry us forward. We, of course, are bidden to do likewise. There is an old saying that ‘friends are Gods way of taking care of us.’ Another anonymous phrase reminds us ‘A friend will sing joyfully with you when you are on the mountain top and walk silently beside you in the valley.’
There is a nugget of wisdom in this story. When the man is healed, he takes up his bed, the symbol of his past, his paralysis and carries it with him. This appears to be odd. I would have thought that he would leave that reminder behind. Write it off as a footnote in his past. It may be, though, that there are times when we need, for our own mental and spiritual health, to be reminded of where we’ve come from. We need reminders of what God has touched with healing power, lest we lose that humility that allows us to be rightly related to God and open to the miracles that testify that God is amongst us.