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CHURCH CORNER: Don’t be frozen by your fear
Aside from being given a new iPad, I don’t think I’ve heard as many happy comments as when it (finally) started snowing. The “first snow” of 2012 for our area finally came and as I heard some say, this really marks winter for them.
I admit it, I love the snow. I love how quiet the world seems to become. I love how people seem to slow down and how everyone seems to get along better. I think I love most how everything gets covered over and all the ugly stuff in our yards suddenly is transformed into a winter wonderland that just makes us gaze in wonder.
It is somewhat strange to be writing about gazing over the silent world of a snow-covered yard because, as I’m typing this, I’m surrounded by local high school students at a Young Life snow camp and right now the lodge is ANYTHING but quiet. Oh, there is a beautiful covering of snow outside the door but inside, if you look closely, there is a different kind of covering; one that I don’t think is so beautiful, that people use to “cover” what they feel too ugly to show others. In many ways, we all cover ourselves. We wear masks to attempt to keep other people from knowing what is really going on inside, how we really feel, about our fears, about our pain. We can have happy and joyous moments, too. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t times that are good…there are. But having talked to hundreds of people over the past 30 years of ministry, I have heard their hearts when they finally want tomorrow to be different than yesterday. This is when the covering starts to come off.
Jesus was once talking to a man who was lying down by a pool. The man was paralyzed and had been so for 38 years. The unique thing about this particular pool is the story that had circulated that occasionally an angel would “stir the waters” and whomever was first into the pool would be healed. This man was lying around with many others and had been there for a long time. What Jesus did next was…well, we might say unusual. He asked the man, “Do you wish to get well?” The man replied, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
What an interesting response to the question. He didn’t answer the question really but made an excuse for his lack of healing. This man “covered” a portion of his condition with a physical condition he happened to have of being paralyzed. The great part of this story is that Jesus saw through his covering and called him to something else.
“Get up, pick up your bed and walk.”
Many people are “paralyzed.” Afraid to get up and out of the situations they are in, they are seemingly unable to move. Frozen by their fear that there is no hope, feeling stricken by a current relationship or perhaps by an inability to deal with something in the past, or stricken by their need to connect to another person on a level that is so much more than just social media, small talk or casual “hook-up.”
Just like the weekend for many of those high school students who responded to an opportunity, Jesus is asking you today, “Do you wish to get well?” I pray that you answer “yes,” that you get up and seek safe and supporting community in your local church and that you will push past the awkwardness that can occur until you have found the place that you can feel the love of the father.
By Len Bundy