Mark 2:4-5 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” (NKJV)
Okay, put yourself in the scene. Jesus is in a house teaching. The house is over crowded. A group of guys bring their paralyzed friend to be healed by Jesus. They can’t get in the door, but that isn’t going to stop them. They go up on the roof of the house, cut a hole and let the guy down right in front of Jesus.
Can you imagine that scene? There were probably people who got mad at the interruption and felt it was unfair they were “cutting in line”. I doubt the home owner was too happy about having his roof torn up.
That’s all pretty interesting, but here’s my real question… if YOU were the “teacher” in this situation, and the fellow was lowered in front of you, what response would you have? I’m guessing most people would respond the same way I would: “wow, look how determined this guy is. I feel a lot of sympathy on him. It’s obvious what his greatest need is… he needs to be healed of paralysis.”
What do you think the lame man was thinking about? Getting healed, right? He saw his greatest need as relief from being paralyzed. He thought his greatest need was obvious. If I was the teacher there, I would have immediately thought the same thing. It was obvious to every person in the room what his greatest need was: to be healed of paralysis, right?
What was Jesus response? What did Jesus see as his greatest need? What was Jesus more concerned about? What did Jesus see that we would all overlook? Jesus said:
“Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
If the point of this lesson was to teach that forgiveness of sins is our greatest need, that would be a pretty good lesson. But that’s not where I’m going. The point I want to consider in this message is this:
We frequently see our greatest needs INCORRECTLY, and when God doesn’t respond to those, we think He doesn’t care, or isn’t listening. At best, we get a little impatient and wish God would hurry up and get busy.
What we fail to consider is that maybe what we are SURE is our greatest need and most important current consideration… isn’t. Maybe God knows that there is something else that is more important and He is taking care of that in our lives, instead of what appears obviously first priority to us.
- Lord, fix my money problems… nope, I’m trying to build your character right now.
- Lord, relieve my suffering… nope, I’m cultivating faith and grace in your life.
- Lord, make that person quit persecuting me… nope, I want you to learn to love those who mistreat you.
- Lord, gimmee, gimmee, gimmee… nope, I’m teaching you to be content in all things.
As Christians, all of us have known times where we pray about something specific, and it seems like God isn’t answering. It seems like “other” things keep coming up but we seeing that God is trying to redirect our attention. It is an appropriate question to ask God: “Lord, if I have my eyes on the wrong thing, and you know there is something more important, something of higher priority that I should be focused on, please reveal it to me”.
I would take it even one step further and propose that we RARELY know what our greatest need is, and we should routinely set aside our own agenda, and ask God to reveal to us what He knows are the most important issues, needs and changes that we should be focusing on. This is the biggest problem with all the “positive confession”, “negative confession” nonsense we hear so much in the church today: as sinful, deceived, sin-cursed humans, we can’t rely on ourselves to know what is best for us. We have to ask God, and then pray for those things He reveals as the highest priority. So instead of the fleshly “positive confession” for more income, we can make a truly positive confession based on what God reveals to us (James 1:5) which more than likely is going to be something much more valuable than money: patience, holiness, humility, contentment, etc.
What you may be convinced is your greatest need,
may not be. In fact, it’s PROBABLY not.
Again, let me emphasize clearly: what appears to be our greatest need (and we may be thoroughly convinced of it) may very well NOT be. So if you feel like God is not responding or listening, maybe it’s because you’re praying about the wrong thing. Ask God, He’ll tell you. Cut a hole in the roof of heaven and lower yourself down in front of Jesus. Don’t worry, He’ll get right to the point.
Lord God, if I have my eyes on the wrong thing, and you know there is something more important, something of higher priority that I should be focused on, please reveal it to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?