News spread quickly and the man heard it: Jesus is here! He’s back in Capernaum.
Reclining every day of his life, this man lay flat out on his mat, the mat of his past, present, and future.
Paralysis had not only left this man’s body atrophied but also left his soul feeble. Tired of his immobilized, horizontal mat-life, tired of the bedsores, tired of his burdens, tired of focusing on the ceiling and feet…he wanted to see the Healer. In the flesh.
Jesus had healed others on previous trips to Capernaum, so maybe this would be the time He would heal Mat Man.
“Get me to the house!” the man urged his four faithful friends. So, they picked him up with his mat and headed for the house where Jesus was staying.
When they got there, visitors overflowed out the door. The only route left to the four men was up. Once on the roof, they began taking apart the roof to make an opening and then lowered Mat Man down in the presence of Jesus, coming to rest at His feet.
Although I Lynnified the above a little, the rest of the account in Mark 2 says that Jesus forgave the man’s sins, then, turned to him and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Mark 2:11 NLT)
So, “the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers.” (Mark 2:12a NLT) Healed! Burdens gone. Illness gone. Past gone.
No more feeble, shaky legs. No more depending on others. No more lying down on his past. Standing upright, he walked out carrying his mat of horizontal existence, his mat of disease and depression. He was free!
The man went back to living a vertical life. I’m positive he exuded joy. Can’t you just picture it: the man dancing all the way through town, kicking up his heels, and yelling as loud as possible, “I’m healed! I’m healed! Praise the Lord! I’m healed!”
What about me? What about you? Do we live horizontal, immobilized lives…in our hearts? If so, it can sometimes affect our physical condition. But what about the spiritual side?
What causes us to live horizontal mat-lives?
*Unconfessed sin? Fear? Doubt? Worry? Addictions? Grief? Loss? Unforgiveness or bitterness? Negative attitude? Depression? Discouragement? Dwelling on our past?
Does any of that cause you to have a mat-life? If I’m not diligent to guard my heart, I know just where to lie down on that stinkin’ mat! If I wrap my fingers around any of these things, or others, and cling to them, I throw out the mat of paralysis and park myself on it.
Jeremiah lamented, “Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed. Then I remember something that fills me with hope. The LORD’s kindness never fails! If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.” (Lam. 3:19-23 CEV)
I have learned that I paralyze myself every time I take my focus off the Lord and place it on myself and/or my circumstances. I end up making myself miserable. Isaiah said to God, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Is. 26:3 NLT)
Ah, yes. That Perfect Peace. When I draw near to the Lord, sitting at the feet of the Healer of all ills, I find the sweetness of His Life poured out into mine…forgiveness and fullness of joy, strength and peace, comfort and rest, faith and hope.
What paralyzes you? Keeps you down, living a horizontal mat-life? Have you gotten comfy living there? If so, He says to you, “I am the Lord who heals you. Get up. Take up your mat of misery and go back to living an upright life.”
Or are you sitting at the feet of the Healer? “Yet there is one ray of hope: His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day.” (Lam. 3:21-23 TLB)
Whose feet are you focused on?