Thursday, July 06, 2017

“Beloved Child” by Beth DeCristofaro

(God’s messenger said to Abraham) I know now how devoted you are to God since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son."  (Genesis 22:12)

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."  At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, "Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"– he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." (Matthew 9:2-6)

Help me to overcome my lack of devotion, Lord.  Jesus, I will pick up my stretcher of faults and infirmities knowing that your forgiveness and generosity are beyond my understanding will enable me to walk always giving glory and gratitude to you.

An “Ah hah” moment came to me recently as I talked with an elderly woman sharing wonderful stories of her life.  She told me about her loving family and raising 5 children.  She also sighed remembering the tragedy of a young brother paralyzed and the death of her beloved husband in his 50’s.  She laughed saying that her life was very full, not perfect but long and mostly happy.  At her words, I realized that what I thought of as the perfect life, the perfect day, the perfect marriage was, in fact, was that I was able to get my way in all things!  And, humbly, I was immediately struck with the awareness that “my way” is not only selfish but so incredibly short-sighted.  Do I really know what I want or need?  Do I know what God wants for me?

Abraham desired to fulfill his moral duty to the God who had sent him into a new land.  God gave him more than a new home. God gave him ancestors – from both Isaac and Ishmael – numerous as the stars.  The paralytic had faith in a miracle worker but Jesus gave more.  Jesus forgave him giving him a new life of spirit and body.  What might God gift me with if I set my eyes on him instead of the illusion of the perfect life, event, test, project? God’s gifts might be invisible to my human eye or they might be the most awesome gift ever visible to human eyes:  a baby born in humble holiness who died and rose for me and you.

When do I act as if I have the authority on earth which belongs to Jesus alone?  What prompts me to “harbor evil thoughts”, those which diminish another or are not rooted in love?  In the swirl of busyness, when I feel most righteous or greatly troubled, may I slow down and listen for that quiet yet infinite voice of God saying “My child, I know how devoted you are to Me.  Rise and walk, forgive as you are forgiven.”

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