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On the Mat

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We can experience the spiritual fruit of joy in our lives, even when we’re “on the mat.”

Luke 5:18-20

There was nowhere to go and no way to get to the Healer. It seemed as if the walls would burst as Jesus taught in a home so jammed with people that the men carrying a paralyzed man on a mat couldn’t get through the door, couldn’t get near Jesus.

Undaunted, they tore through the roof, lowered him down, and placed him right in front of Jesus and the stunned crowd. Jesus, seeing their faith, instantly healed him (Luke 5.18-20). 

Imagine what the paralyzed man may have felt when he was lowered down through the roof—resentful he couldn’t walk in himself, afraid, embarrassed? Yet, he didn’t yell at them to stop, and the process of lowering him down to the feet of Jesus ultimately brought him healing as Jesus raised him up on his feet.

It’s hard to be the one on the mat, suffering and feeling helpless. It’s easy to become angry at God “who shouldn’t have let this happen.” But when we resent hardships in life, we miss the joy God wants to build in us through the healing process. Like the paralyzed man, we need to allow ourselves to be lowered down, so we can learn to trust in God to raise us up.

Today, write out James 1.2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Pray to find God’s joy as you trust him when you’re on the mat.

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