The cure that he had been waiting for came. 38 long years had passed.
He struggled and fought for each inch during every day of those 38 years. He hadn’t traveled far. His atrophied muscles betrayed his will. His legs hadn’t moved for almost 4 decades. Lifeless stumps.
This paralysis cursed him. It mocked him. It imprisoned him.
Work, an impossibility, remained a distant memory. Poverty gave him no luxury. He had no one to care for him.
So, he sat, with the other invalids, hoping in spite of hope, praying that one day a cure would come.
And…then it came, just as it did every once in a while when one person out of so many would be healed.
He was approached by a stranger with just one simple question.
Do you want to be whole?
He acknowledged his inability and utter helplessness, and he cast himself on this total stranger. The only one willing to help.
Pick up your bed and start walking.
So, he obeyed. He gathered his things and began to walk for the first time in almost forty years. It felt good. Liberating. Productive.
Then people started to notice.
Hold on. You can’t be doing that. It’s Saturday. You’re breaking the rules. Who do you think you are? You’re a sinner, and we’re going to kick you out of the church if you don’t stop right now.
Suddenly, it hit him. The very fact that he was cured of his debilitating disease was going change his life completely. His bed was going to be his cross. His blessing, a burden.
If he carried his bed on the Sabbath as the Healer told him to do, he would be ostracized. If he hadn’t, he would still be miserable and helpless.
Early on in our spiritual life we need to recognize the importance of a few things: First, there’s no substitute for obedience to the Lord Jesus. If he tells us to take up our bed and start walking, just pick it up and go. Don’t question Him. Don’t doubt Him. Have faith.
You may not get this right away, but think on it and you’ll get there.
What is faith? Faith is my acceptance of God’s fact. It always has its foundations in the past.
Faith isn’t looking forward, it’s looking back to what God has already decreed. Hope looks forward. So, when Jesus tells you to take up your bed or your cross, we need to load up and go….and we don’t need to put it down for anybody…but Him. Not even when they say, “You can’t be doing that.”
Social persecution may sting, but not near as much as paralysis.
Secondly, being saved isn’t all rainbows and four-leaf clovers. It’s a battle that is messy and difficult and trying. But, the rewards are absolutely incomparable. Living obediently in Christ can be lonely, but it won’t be that way forever.
I’d rather be a healthy outcast than a crippled member of the group. One of these days there’s going to be a reunion of outcasts that will last for an eternity when all those that got spit on and beaten and cast-off will live like kings with the King of all kings.
Finally, it’s much better to trust the One who loves me than to cower to those that simply want to control me. He knows best and wants what is ultimately best for me. Jesus has no hidden agenda.
So, what are you waiting on? Don’t leave your bed laying there. Pick it up and get to stepping.