I walked into Lowe’s yesterday to return a few knobs that we had bought for the kitchen. My delight was hard to contain. “Returning” the knobs meant that I didn’t have to “install” the knobs on our seventy-eight kitchen cabinets!! (We don’t have that many…it would just seem like that if I had to install them…)
Brandi was alone waiting just for me at the Service/Returns desk. Like every other Lowe’s employee, Brandi had her standard issued red apron on with the name badge affixed. I took note of her name as I always try to do. We chuckled about me not having to install the now returned knobs. I was about to turn and walk away when I noticed the bottom edge of a tattoo sneaking out from beneath her right short sleeve. I always try to ask people about their “body art” as usually there are some pretty fascinating stories attached.
Brandi raised her right sleeve for me to see the full tattoo.
The name “Nithaniel” was written in beautiful large script.
Below the name was a set of dates…
Brandi, with a very sad tone in her voice said, “That’s a way for me to honor my son who died when he was two…”
Above the dates and above “Nithaniel’s” name was a colorful tattoo of a smiling “SpongeBob SquarePants”…
The heartfelt words I offered to Brandi seemed so empty in trying to fill a void so vast.
Rare it is in our world for us to wear such heartache and pain on our proverbial “shirt sleeve” like Brandi.
And yet…all of us have such handicaps, hurts and heartaches tattooed all over our bodies. Most, if not all of them find safe harbor beneath our epidermis…
Not so with the paralytic that we find in the second chapter of Mark’s gospel. His friends lower him through the roof to meet Jesus. This was the only way for him to see Jesus. I am not so sure this was his idea, but when you are paralyzed and your loving friends decide to lower you through a roof to see the Redeemer, what are you going to say?
He interrupts the teachings of Jesus as he descends into the living room of this house and his handicap and hurt of being a paralytic is on display for all to see.
Jesus does what Jesus does. He welcomes him. He cleanses the man’s heart and then Jesus says, “Pick up your mat and get on with your life!”
And the paralytic does. He gets up, rolls up his mat and he walks away.
I wonder what is on your “mat” today?
Is there anything paralyzing you, keeping you from moving forward in life?
How many hidden hurts and heartaches keep you flat on your back?
You are not alone…
All of us and I hope you hear me when I shout, “ALL OF US” have things on our “mat” which weigh us down: painful hurts, ridiculous regrets and a history of histrionics.
You don’t have to keep them hidden either.
It’s ok to roll up our sleeves and show off our SpongeBob SquarePants…
It just might be all that’s needed to give permission for someone else to roll up their sleeves too…and allow the healing to begin.
Here’s the good news…
With Jesus we can roll up our sleeves and walk again, unencumbered, unhindered and uninhibited and ultimately roll up our mat!
Let me invite you to lower yourself into the Savior’s presence this day and let Him cleanse your heart, set you free and then run like the wind into the bright future He has for you…
And he rose and immediately picked up his mat and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2: 12)
Laugh often and Fear not!