What’s the worst thing that can happen to you?
we think of all these terrible things: abandonment, health failing, losing our senses or being deformed, someone we love dying . . .I could go on and on–there are so many ways to suffer!
But recently, I came across two Bible stories where I realized Jesus was saying sin is the worst thing. Why? Well, because it separates us from God. And it could separate us from God forever. And we know that there is nothing God wants more than to be with us forever.
Do you remember the story in Mark 2 when Jesus heals the paralytic and says to him, “your sins are forgiven,”? And how the scribes thought he was blaspheming because only God can forgive sins?
And here is the part that struck me (finally–I admit; I never really got this until now . . .I can be a little slow), Jesus said, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.”
Jesus saw this crippled man but His first action was not to heal His body. No, he looked first to his soul. And the first thing He did was forgive the man’s sins. Because that was what mattered most!
In another story we heard a couple months ago in John 5, Jesus heals another invalid who was lying by a pool hoping to get in the water and be cured. Now this starts a big controversy because it was the Sabbath, etc. But what stood out to me when I heard the story this time was when Jesus found the cured man later, he said to him, “ “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” And, again, it struck me, Jesus was saying that if this man were to fall into sin it would be worse than all those years he was an invalid.
Yes, we suffer. So much sometimes that we can barely withstand it. We long to be cured, to be made whole and right. And Jesus wants that too. But when He sees us wounded, He sees first our wounded soul and longs to heal, touch and cure us there first.
Again and again, its that reminder that this life is not what its about, that often our eyes are on the wrong thing, that there is something so much better waiting for us and we need to keep our eyes–and our hearts and mind–focused there.
To strive to be perfect–as our Heavenly Father is perfect–whether we are suffering or not.