In case you didn’t know, I’ve spent the last week or so in-limbo (What does that really mean? Does that mean I’m bent-over-backwards with indecision? That’s what it feels like anyway.) There’s a major decision on the table for me regarding my future. This decision includes more factors and potential to impact the rest of my life than any other decision I’ve ever had to make…
Purpose: To study Agricultural Leadership; earn a master’s degree with the intention to then go on to earn a doctorate in a related field.
Choices: Texas A & M, Virginia Tech, or University of Florida.
During this time of “in-limbo,” no matter how hard I’ve tried to work out the options and related consequences in my head to move forward with a decision, I am continually brought back to this feeling of being paralyzed: emotionally, spiritually, physically even.
I don’t know if I can really move out-of-state, away from my family, away from every friend I have.
Is this really what I’m supposed to do God? I mean, you’ve given me a passion, yes. I see what you can do with it, yes. But, really?? Why don’t you just pave a different road for me, one that appears more acceptable and understandable as a path for ministry? Take me to Africa. Take me to a seminary. Those places seems easier to trust you and grow with you than the options you’ve put in my lap.
It’s going to be too hard to leave _________. Like, harder than ever. Is this even your will in the first place?
I can’t do this. I don’t want to do anything. I can’t make a decision. I can’t move forward. I’d rather give up everything, all my options, all the possibilities just so that I won’t have to feel the pain that will inevitably come with any of these choices.
This state of paralysis is familiar to me. At different seasons in my life, I’ve imagined my heels being dug into the dirt while life and time pushes me forward anyway, not even phased by my reluctance to go forward.
This is no way to live. I know this for sure.
But, instead of feeling empowered by this truth to run with life and embrace time’s insistence to change, grow, and choose, I’ve instead been known to give in to the belief that it would be better not to live at all than to live with fear of moving forward.
1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.
3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 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.
5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 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? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
12 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: 1-12
Many times when I hear this passage of scripture being taught, the emphasis is made on the friends of the paralytic. (And just so we’re clear, my intention isn’t to discount the awesomeness of these men who love their friend so much that they’d wreck someone else’s roof and jolly-rig a bed to lower him down to Jesus. Praise God for friends who would do anything to show you love that rips open rooftops and brings you to the feet of the Man who Stooped.)
I wonder how the paralytic felt prior to experiencing the love of his friends. How long had he been paralyzed?? How content was he with his life? Did he even want to move forward or was he surrendered to the idea was better not living than to live paralyzed?
I wonder how he felt about Jesus, this man who supposedly healed many and performed miracles. Did he believe completely that even his paralyzed, almost useless body could be healed by the healer? Or was he talked into this rooftop-shenanigan by his buddies who believed in Jesus’s power more than he did?
Or, perhaps it was the opposite. Perhaps the paralytic was the one with complete faith that Jesus would heal him entirely if only he could reach him, and so he convinced four of his closest friends to do the crazy thing of tearing apart someone else’s roof and lowering him to Jesus.
Or, maybe all five of them believed in Jesus. Who knows. (Sometimes, even if we can’t say for sure how people in the bible really felt, I believe it’s important to critically imagine the possibilities–for it is these possibilities that can move us to empathize with and embrace the imagined perspectives as our own pathway to the Father. Go ahead and call me a blasphemer if you disagree with this approach tot the scriptures.)
Let me get back to the paralytic and Jesus.
I imagine the paralytic as somewhat hopeless in his state, feeling afraid to even desire to live longer and to move forward with his life because he risks experiencing more pain with his choice to live. Maybe he doubts his own purpose in life, having lived for how ever long as a useless body taking up space.
That’s how I feel right now while in-limbo. Just a useless body taking up space until I’m forced to make a decision.
I also imagine that the possibility of Jesus healing him for good scares him, for then he will have to make choices about what he will do with a working body.
Why is being healed as scary or scarier than staying paralyzed? Because when he heals us, Jesus charges us to then get up, take up our mats, and walk. He doesn’t tell us exactly where to. Just walk forward.
I wonder though, before Jesus healed the paralytic physically, how the paralytic reacted to Jesus forgiving his sins. The scriptures draw our attention to those judgmental, hypercritical teachers of the law who gasp as Jesus tells the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
But what must the paralytic have thought at that moment?
“Wait a minute. My friends throw our their backs just to get be here to be healed and you tell me my sins are forgiven?!? Did you miss something here, Jesus?? Don’t you see that I can’t move forward with my life until you heal my body?”
“Wait a minute. How does he know about my sin? How did he know I struggled with anger, unforgiveness, lust, greed, lying, etc.? And why does he care about that more than my state of paralysis?”
How long had the paralytic waited for this moment, when the prospects of a completely different life are finally within reach? And here, Jesus is giving him the forgiveness that he needed in order to move on with his life, even before he was physically able to move.
When God is drawing us to move forward with life and trust him, he makes sure to give us grace for where we are at spiritually. Without this grace, we cannot move forward and walk as he would intend us to. He is about the spiritual healing before the physical healing, the spiritual walk before the physical walk. He’d rather us sit in a paralytic state and receive his grace and forgiveness forever than to have us move without it.
I’m still waiting for his spiritual healing, waiting as in sitting in the midst of his shower of Grace letting him deal with my fears, my sins, my spiritual paralysis. This I know must take place before I am physically able to walk in the direction he puts before me. There’s a song that has helped me be content in this time of waiting. Listen to the words of the song linked below:
My head and my heart tell me what I think I will choose regarding graduate school, but to be sure I’m praying that God make it clear that this choice is the direction where he wants me to walk.
Please pray with me that he will guide me and help me move forward with peace. But, more than that, pray for the deep spiritual healing that is taking place while in-limbo, while in the waiting. Thanks. 🙂