Tues., Jan. 10, 2017
Mark 2:5, 12 – When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Last weekend, Rick and I participated in a miracle of healing event. Mel and Joanne belong to a church where I used to serve as the pastor. Mel has struggled with congestive lung issues for years. About 18 months ago, he began the process of going on a transplant list. A couple days before Christmas 2015, Mel received a call that a lung was available for him. In short order, he successfully received a tremendous Christmas present: a new lung. Mel’s recovery has been nothing less than remarkable. Yet, this was only possible because a family lost a loved one and made an organ donation.
A year later, Mel and Jo had a life celebration at their farm. The winter air was single digits with more than enough wind. Yet, over 100 family and friends gathered in a somewhat heated tent to honor Mel and the family who made his transplant possible. Mel does not know the person’s name who donated his lung. He has not had any contact with the family. This does not diminish his awareness of this family’s generosity.
Early in Mark’s gospel, Jesus is teaching in Capernaum. Four friends have a paralytic friend. They know Jesus can heal him. When they arrive at the house carrying their friend on a stretcher, they can’t enter the house. The house is so full, one more person can’t be squeezed inside. Not to be dismayed, the friends get creative. They climbed up and made a hole in the roof. They lowered their ailing friend down to Jesus, who heals him. Here’s the twist: it’s not the paralytic’s faith who convinces Jesus to heal him. It’s the faith of his four friends.
In the story, none of the friends are named. Why? So WE can become the friend with enough faith for an ailing friend. The person and family who donated Mel’s lung is one of his unnamed “friends” who had faith an organ would make a difference in another person’s life. And it has.
As part of the life celebration, people were encouraged to launch lit lanterns into the night sky. The wind died down just a bit as folks gathered outside a shed, used to help break the wind. Rick held the first lantern, as a woman persisted in getting the heat source lit. The lantern took off; up over the silos, into the night air. Rick and I lit our own lantern. Many other families patiently released lanterns. Surprisingly, 20-25 lanterns danced across the chilly night sky.
Too often, we do not think God performs miracles in our lives today. I think God allows for many miracles. Sometimes, we just miss them. We choose whether we see them as miracles. We choose when we see God’s healing hand in our and other’s lives.
Mel’s lung is a miracle. Like his organ donor, we have the opportunity to be a friend to an ailing person who needs a miracle from God. Whether the ailment is physical or otherwise, we can help be the conduit through which the miracle happens. I pray when such an opportunity is placed before us, we will creatively bring healing to another person’s life.
Almighty God – as the great physician, you have the ability to heal us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Thank you for the many times you provide healing in our lives. Grant us patience when healing does not come exactly as we would like. May we see chances placed before us as an opportunity to be a friend to someone who needs healing in their life. Amen.
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