Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
— Matthew 9:5
Manipulation (Ironic Bit)
Tomorrow I will have my knee manipulated while under anesthesia. Currently I have only a 60-degree bend to my knee. That is not enough to walk or even sit comfortably. The doctor will literally force my knee to bend. Bending my knee is only part of my problem. Twelve weeks after the surgery I am not even close to walking. I have been on crutches for weeks now. My armpits are raw and I have worn off the handgrips of my crutches. Worse, I feel like a cripple when I walk. Never in my childhood of crutches and wheelchairs did I ever feel like a cripple. My father had planted a “hero-complex” within me. I knew I would rise above circumstance and transform the world with my optimism.
I am fairly convinced that walking will never be what it once was for me. My physical therapist told me today that surgeons will often tell patients, “You will never walk again.” Some of them do, just to prove the doctor wrong. But it is difficult to be a hero beyond fifty years. Walking was never pain free, but it was free of self-pity and self-deprecation.
Maybe I will be carried the rest of my life … or maybe I will be able to bend my knee at the end of the day and take a few ordinary steps, eventually. Anybody’s guess.
Is losing your faith like losing your car keys or reading glasses?
Or is it like losing a love letter you once read over and over
and then misplaced?
Is losing your faith like losing your mind
(lapses of memory)
Is losing your faith like the death of a child
(too soon or out of order)?
Or the death of a parent
(painful yet inevitable)?
Is losing your faith like getting lost in the heart of a wilderness?
Is losing your faith like getting lost on a journey to place you have never been before?
Losing your faith is like losing a bet.
You pushed all the chips to the center of the table
knowing you had a winning hand
but when you lay the cards down
the one card you needed most is missing.
Healing the Lame
Jesus heals quite a few broken people in the Bible. In one instance a lame man was brought to Jesus on a mat. It doesn’t say how lame and in this instance the effort to bring him to Jesus involved no breaking and entering. The drama is short and sweet. He gets of the boat and is confronted with a lame man, carried to him by friends. Jesus walks a few steps, pauses for dramatic effect … winks at the Pharisees … and then says, “Take heart, son …” The lame man and his friends leap to fill in the blank, “You will walk again!” Instead Jesus drops a wagonload of horse crap, “Your sins are forgiven.” The lame man mumbles a wtf and his friends stand there with jaws dropped.
What sins could a lame man possibly have? (Self-pity, self-loathing, self-medicating, self-ish-ness?)
So in the long run what does a lame man need the most … the freedom to live a whole life? Or the ability to walk?
On that day, Jesus gave the man both. I need both.
I never believed in the doctrine of “eternal security.” Those Baptists just wanted an excuse to “live like hell and still get to heaven.” The ability to walk away from God is the only thing that makes God never walking away from us have any meaning. My father called it, “being pursued by the Hound of Heaven.”
Somewhere in the mountains of Eastern Oregon, in my many walks with my father, a microscopic grain of mustard seed caught on bit of my pant leg and worked its way into my shoe. Maybe losing your faith is like finding a grain of mustard seed in the bottom of your shoe. I’ll have to think about that.