Thinking Outside of the Box

Text: Luke 5:18-19
Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. (NRSV)

This text reveals not only the confidence these men had in Jesus’ ability to heal, but the love and care they had for the paralyzed man they were bringing to Jesus.  They came to Jesus with the mission of getting their friend healed, but when they arrived, there was no way to get through the crowed that was gathered at the door of the house where Jesus was.

These men were not easily discouraged, however.  Their love and devotion for their friend overrode their concept of what was possible and what was impossible.  This attitude reminds me of a question that is in the inventory of questions I ask the couples in my premarital counseling sessions.  The question simply asked, “Are you easily discouraged?”.  The point of the question is to begin the conversation about how hard it is to maintain a relationship of love and compassion when two adults live within the same four walls.  Now, this is harder for some than it is for others (just ask Linda).  But the point that is made during the counseling session is that if you are easily discouraged, married life can be hard.  One needs to be persistent within the relationship and think outside of the box when trying to achieve one’s goals and maintain a healthy loving relationship.

These men in today’s scripture reading, were men who do not seem to be easily discouraged and their love for their friend caused them to think outside the box and find a way to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus so that he could be healed.  Sometimes when I pray, I wonder if my prayers are reaching any higher than the ceiling let alone up to heaven.  I can have days where I feel as if I have not been in God’s presence.  It seems as if the door is blocked for some reason or another.  Saint John of the Cross calls this “The Dark Night of the Soul”.  If I were easily discouraged, I may simply stop trying.  But I know that on the other side of the “door” is the same Jesus that loved me so much he was willing to die on a cross for me.  So, I pray in different ways, I pray at different times, I read scripture, I listen to worship music on the radio, etc., etc., etc., until I finally feel the old familiar feelings of the presence of God in my spirit.

Do you get discouraged when you find something blocking your way to Jesus?  Or do you think outside of the box until you find your way around whatever it is that is blocking you?  Because, you know, Jesus loves you and is always waiting for you to break into his presence.

Pray with me:

God of love and God of longing draw me toward you even when I have trouble feeling like I am connecting with you.  Remind me of the love you have for me and the longing in your Spirit to connect with my spirit.  Help me not to be discouraged but to continue to think outside of the box until I feel your gentle Spirit within me again.  AMEN.

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