As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.
My thoughts (Brent Walsh):
In this age of reality shows, I’d have to say my favorite is The Biggest Loser. A group of overweight contestants arrives at the Biggest Loser campus to begin a three-month race to lose the most weight and win the grand prize. They are divided into two groups, each led by a professional trainer to push them in their endeavor.
As is true in most reality shows, each contestant is interviewed privately throughout the game so they can share their thoughts, feelings, and reactions with the viewers at home. Each contestant is different, of course, but I can’t help but notice a common thread. Most contestants start the process with dreams of getting physically fit and healthy. The monetary reward at the end almost always takes second place. Their biggest concerns are that they either don’t want to die young from obesity, or they don’t want their kids to grow up and be fat like they are.
Little do they know that their weight-loss journey will not just change the outside body. As the weight comes off, emotional wounds come to the surface and demand recognition. The trainers don’t just see overweight people; they see hurting souls. They push their players, not only to run faster on the treadmill, but also to “get real” and stop hiding their feelings. The façade is shattered and the real pain from years of being bullied, teased or overlooked must be dealt with. No longer is the contestant allowed to sit on the sidelines of life, but they are expected to be a vital part of their own rebirth, inside and out. As the weeks tick by, you see a true transformation from clumsy to sure-footed; from doubtful to confident; from broken to whole; from spectator to athlete, inside and out.
Every success story begins with one person (the trainer) looking at another (the overweight contestant) and seeing the real problem (emotional pain), not the symptom (excessive weight). So it is with Jesus when the paralytic man is brought to him. He didn’t just give the man what it looked like he needed on the outside. He saw right through to the inside and dealt with that first.
How many times do we look at ourselves or others and see the symptoms rather than the real issues?
- If we were to look through the anger, we might see the pain underneath.
- If we were to look through the obsessive controlling of others, we might see the feelings of helplessness in one‘s self.
- If we were to look through the eating disorder, we might see the emotional turmoil.
- If we were to look through the promiscuity, we might see the fear of being alone.
Jesus is not one to be fooled, and he doesn’t always respond in the way we might expect. Who could have predicted that when the paralytic man was put in front of him, he wouldn’t even address the fact that the man could not walk? Maybe that’s because he didn’t see a paralytic man, but rather a man in need of forgiveness.
Thought for the day: What does Jesus see when he looks at me?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.