Get up, Pick up your mat, and WALK
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time,
he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied,
“I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.
While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
I read those words, panting for breath, sprawled along my friend’s couch, right in the middle of our discipleship group…
Pregnancy fatigue rendering me useless and making me feel faint, as if I had just sprinted across the finish line of a marathon, it was the best I could do to show up to our weekly Bible study and accountability group and declare that I would need to be in a reclining position in order to make it through our two hours together.
Back at home, Danny, had all six kids skirting around the house, but he was in the same exact position, feeling the same exact way.
My intense fatigue was due to the little life growing within me, his was due to Lyme Disease sucking life out of him.
For over a month we had explained away Danny’s frequent infections, intense fatigue, headaches and achiness with having been overworked or overwhelmed by the ministry in the community.
We were just on the verge of going to the Urgent Care to just get antibiotics to “kick this” when I called the naturopath doctor who had help us treat our little Benjamin in the wake of extended toxic black mold exposure.
Despite initially not having an opening for two months, at the last minute the receptionist realized that something had just opened up for the very next day.
We prayed for wisdom and discernment for what was truly going on as he left for his appointment the next day, never dreaming that the diagnosis would be a chronic one…
Lyme disease and an overload of bacteria in his body.
But as the results came in, there was still much to be thankful for….
-the RIGHT doctor for the RIGHT diagnosis was able to fit us in.
-we seem to have caught it early before the multiplying spirochetes could take over all parts of Danny’s body
-we caught it! There are many many people (even some we know) who have spent years and thousands and thousands of dollars going from one doctor to the next trying to figure out what was “wrong” with them. The Lord has spared us from this plus from all the different medications that might have been pumped into Danny’s body over a wrong diagnosis.
So, as I lay there, still processing the news of Danny’s Lyme Disease, and the repercussions of a lifetime of battling fatigue and illness, all while raising soon to be seven children and church planting and running a nonprofit, those words popped out to me.
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!”
Then, a subsequent question was whispered to my spirit…
“What is the mat which you have been resting on, that I’m calling you to pick up, by faith, and carry?”
The question lingered, on into the next morning as I bustled around getting kids to school, cleaning up the house, and making a smoothie for my husband laying in bed, determined to gird his health up in any way possible. The thought of “who’s going to do all this when I’m recovering from having just delivered a baby??” was running through my mind. But then Jesus’ word’s and question whispered to me again.
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
And my question was answered.
Danny has been my “mat” in so many ways throughout the years. His cheerful disposition, his driving passion, his fun and delight in our children would always “hold me” when I felt as though I was sinking from parenting issues and the constant household needs. His faithfulness as provider, his diligence in taking care of so many logistics of our finances and schedule, his perseverance in carrying so many family and ministry responsibilites, and his wisdom in doing so were all strong and comfortable places on which I have come to rely heavily.
But now, in light of his weakness, sickness and fatigue, I was being called to “Get up! Pick up my mat and walk.”
It was time for me to do some carrying. And because of those words ringing around in my mind, I knew it wasn’t I, who would be doing the heavy lifting, but based on the promises, command, and power of Jesus Christ, I would be able to GET UP, TAKE UP, and WALK.
I don’t know where the strength, energy, and provision will come from each day, but I know that it will be there, because Jesus has commanded it.
And when He speaks,
It was there when He spoke the world into existence. (Genesis 1:3)
It was there when He prophecied through the prophets. (Isaiah 45)
It was there when He spoke stillness to the raging storm. (Mark 4:35-41)
And it was there when He spoke healing to every infirmity and forgiveness to every sin. (Mark 2:1-12)
When my Lord speaks, it is….so even when life’s demands make me want to lie down in defeat, I can recall these words, this command, and this reality, and know that as I get up, and take up my mat,
I WILL WALK.