Imagine your life group is meeting and there is someone in your group in heavy and sever need of prayer. All of a sudden, the study or anything no longer matters. The entire group of people rally around that person, perhaps lay hands… and just pray for that person. This is the kind of loving one another Christ spoke often about. When we live in community, we are called to love one another, following Christ’s example. This kind of love for one another is what leads us to put aside our own desires, our own priorities and focus on the other person who’s needs are great.
Now that the group has turned their attention and prayer life to the needs of this individual, all are anxious to see how God will respond. We know His ways are above our ways and His way to answer prayer is not always aligned with our requests… but still we wait and pray He will answer as we requested. The real challenge comes when we observe that His answer is not what we asked for.
This is the situation that four men found themselves in, early in Christ’s ministry. They had a friend who was a paralytic who was in need of physical healing. They had heard of this man Jesus, performing miraculous feats of healing all over the countryside. So imagine their frustration when they arrive to where Jesus is speaking… and they can’t even get close. The crowd is so great and packed, they can’t possible squeeze four men carrying a paralytic in his bed, through this crowd.
See how they respond. “And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.” (Mark 2:4) That’s serious dedication to seeking resolution to their prayer requests. Remember, their apparent prayer request is for physical healing. However, Jesus does not immediately respond as expected. “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”” (Mark 2:5)
The friends came to Jesus with a physical need, yet His answer was a Spiritual one. Jesus knew the real need, even if the paralytic and his friends did not. Jesus’ answer was focused on the more important healing, and in this case… that was no physical.
Now in the end, Jesus did heal the physical needs too, but that was not for the man. His physical healing was for the purpose of others to believe. “Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”” (Mark 2:6-12)
Remember as you pray for physical needs of your loved ones, that God may be focused on something much more important than those physical needs. Remember to focus on His will over your own in your prayers.
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