Thursday, September 29, 2011

when all else has failed

It may be partly that I just finished my 38th year.

I try to think of him sitting there waiting for thirty-eight years and getting more and more disheartened. I imagine disappointment sinking in deeper and deeper and becoming a part of who is is, how he views the world, maybe even shaping the wrinkles on his face and the lines of his body.

I try to imagine living that way, watching others get there first - watching them erupting in joy - and him looking around wondering why he could never get it right. Did he start to blame? Ask 'why me'? Pull back and isolate himself against a wall and just watch? Did he stop trying? Let go of hope? Did he get hard?

I often wonder where were his friends? Why did no one set up and organize a system!? I visualize a church group relay to move him extra fast; a team of strong volunteer guys hustling him towards the water. A sign-up rota for youth group spotters to stay right by the edge and then let out a shout when they saw what they were all waiting for.

I mean, imagine... If we had that kind of guarantee of healing these days it would be mayhem. We'd all be dragging our family members and friends to that place and camping out and rolling out our sleeping bags.

Was he hopeless? Was he bitter? Was he mad?

These four sentences stand out to me:

When Jesus saw him...

Thirty-eight years. He was seen. He was not unnoticed. In fact, the whole system got turned on its head for him. He didn't have to get into the healing water, the healing came to him.

It means so much to me that eventually Jesus himself walked up to him and saw him.

Do you want to become well?

For a long time this question offended me. What a stupid question! He was paralyzed watching his dreams go unrealized. What did Jesus mean did he want to get better?! No, I think I'd rather hang out here by this little jacuzzi I can never get in and stay lame? Areyoukiddingme?

But slowly I realized the value that statement gives away. I remember the first time someone asked me: What do you want? My head spun with all the right answers. All the things I should say and thought were right to say - and they kept, instead, coming back to my heart, my preferences, my desires. What did I want?

It was a revelation to me that that mattered.
I love that Jesus asked that, too.

I have no one to help me...

His answer is a dejected heart-breaker. He didn't have a team. He didn't have friends. There was no squadron of strong buddies like that guy that got lifted down through the roof. He may not even have had family.

And what blows my mind in this story is that the healing he was offered wasn't just for his body to be made well. It was that he was offered someone.

Jesus knew he felt like he had no one. So Jesus came himself.

He healed him by being present. By noticing him. By seeing his sorrow and hurt and pain and asking him about his heart. By not assuming, presuming or making a big deal about himself. (He didn't even know who Jesus was after he was healed.) Jesus turned his attention to a man who had felt lonely and unseen, too slow and too broken, for thirty-eight years.

But it gets better.

And this is actually the sentence that makes me cry:

After this, Jesus found him again...

When someone is found it means they were being looked for. It involves effort and implies that they matter. He mattered. His heart mattered. And it was not just a one-off thing.

Isn't that beautiful?

Our miracle isn't what happens in our bodies.

It's that he comes to us - again and again.

{39/365 is about this being the last year of my fourth decade. 
I am watching for God in my day-to-day life & I am writing about the gifts He gives me in this season. 
I am listening for His daily, beautiful presence in my years.... all 39 of them and counting. 
This last two months I have been thinking about the fact that we are seen and we are pursued. Our hearts matter to Jesus.
Please feel free to join me. }


WordGirl said...

How beautiful this is!

When first asked what I want of God, I was knocked off kilter. What did I want from him? Wasn't it supposed to be about what he wanted from me? I've only slowly begun to see that he wants me to ask him for the grace I need. He wants me to ask so that he can gladly give it.

I need to remember this and I need to remember that he looks for me - again and again. No matter the myriad ways I try to hide from him and others. He looks for me.

Thank you for the reminder.

erinn::haley said...

thank you for this misha! so beautiful. i love this.

Nikki said...

Misha--so beautiful! Last week someone asked me if I believe Jesus pursues me, and that stopped me in my tracks. I don't know that I've ever thought about that before. And then makes me think again about His pursuit.

Kirsty said...

such beautiful insight my made me think about what I want out of my 47th year...x

Chelle said...

love this post and you so very much my friend...and I am praying that having the best possible recovery...and I am praying that you are cozy and being well taken care of by your loved ones, with heaping bowls of tea, big bouquets of colorful leaves and stacks of good books to keep you company as you recover. xo

Brenda said...

Thank you. Your writing reminded me this morning...He has found me, over and over...He has looked for me, sought me?! Yes. I am profoundly grateful.