Prayer for the day
You are the LORD; do not withhold your compassion from me; let your love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever.
Scripture for the day
Curveballs. They’re the hardest things to hit because they’re not easy to see coming. We’ve all wanted something, expected something, and been disappointed or surprised by the thing we received instead.
Sometimes it’s the present under the tree that looks remarkably like that item we’ve been hinting for for the last year that turns out to be socks instead. Sometimes it’s the scolding we expect that turns into a hug. Whatever the example, life regularly catches us off guard.
Jacob had fallen for a lovely lady named Rachel, and worked hard to earn her hand in marriage. Seven years he worked for this lady. That’s some serious commitment. And yet, come the morning after the wedding night, he discovers that Laban has pulled the ole switcheroo. That has to be a shock!
Matthew tells us the story of a paralyzed man who had some remarkably committed friends. They pack him up on a mat and carry him to the Lord for healing. They’d seen his work, were impressed, and thought he might have a bit of spare power to heal their friend.
The man sees Jesus standing over him and his heart leaps. For the first time in a long time, his body might soon be able to follow suit. The Messiah opens his mouth, and speaks. Words of healing, doubtless. Words of wholeness. “Your sins are forgiven.” Wait….what?
In both passages today, situation takes people by surprise. Life throws curveballs. In some instances, the curveball is wonderful, but it’s un-looked-for. In some instances it’s painful. Imagine the letdown in Jacob. Imagine the surprise (and letdown?) in the paralyzed man. Both of them in his mind must have had the same thought: that’s nice…but it’s not really what I wanted.
In both stories, however, the un-looked-for is not the end of the story. The response of both men is to stay, to see the un-looked-for situation through. There is no guarantee that something different will happen. The forgiveness of sins could have been the end of the story for the paralyzed man (and not a bad end!). The marriage only to Leah could have been Jacob’s lot (and that’s not terrible either). Both men see the situation through. It is simply an extra blessing that the paralyzed man was healed. It was simply an extra blessing (and another 7 years of work) that Jacob was able to marry Rachel as well. But the fact remains that had either exploded, had either stormed away or been carried away, disappointed, dejected, and ready to give up, they would have missed an opportunity for further curve-balls.
There is no guarantee that the curve-ball life throws you will work out well. There’s no guarantee of life at the end of the tunnel this side of eternity. There is, however, hope for the long run, and a knowledge that God does, sometimes, work these miracles. In the end, you may get what you want, and you may not. As the Stones said, “you can’t always get what you want.” The beauty of these stories is that, in the hands of God, you will get what you need.
Remain in Him who can carry you through, and keep your eye on the ball.