Coffee has been rendered inoperative this morning. Even at higher doses, there is only so much a person can imbibe without crossing the line and fulfilling the definition of an “addict.”
Nevertheless, after a few quick dozes through prayer, I opened the Word and found the Lord waiting. He didn’t mind the fog that permeated my thoughts. The Lord said in 2 Chronicles 6:1 that He would dwell in a thick cloud, so I was merely trying to be a gracious hostess and provide the thick cloud part.
You’re probably familiar with the scene in Mark 3:1-5, when Jesus walked into a synagogue filled with critical eyes and fault-finding attitudes. Have you ever been in a crowd like that before? I’d rather do the polar plunge in the Antarctic than revisit some of the churches of my past. But here Jesus came and He brought a change in temperature. His eyes of grace and compassion found a man with a withered hand. I don’t know how long this man may have been going to the synagogue, but in a place where psalms were sung, blessings given, and the scriptures read, he sat with a significant deformity. Whether he was born with this or it happened by some event, can you think of the implications it had in his life?
We use our hands to work, write, feel, touch, fight, love…the list is endless. But I’ve known what it’s like to sit in the midst of a fellowship of believers, sing worship, hear the word of God, watch blessings given and received, and yet have this place in my soul that was withered and weakened. For me, a place that had been so wounded that reaching out, embracing, helping others, and even “feeling”, seemed nearly impossible.
But then Jesus came. Religion and tradition didn’t keep Him out. He can walk into any situation, any bar, any church and speak, teach, and touch people that need Him. And that day, He asked the man in the synagogue to no longer sit hidden among the others, but stand before all to see. Stand before the powerful eyes of criticism, spiritual pride, accusation, and legalism, and risk embarrassment or worse…in order to be touched, blessed, healed and strengthened by Jesus Himself. The man didn’t realize that those spiritual leaders were actually much more handicapped than he. Their spiritual pride, arrogance and hypocrisy withered their character, atrophied their relationship with God and blinded their sight to truth.
May we never lose our vision of grace and truth that come by Jesus. May we never become so filled with the Word of God that we become proud of what we know rather than Who we know and who WE are in His light.
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.