On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I spend the majority of my life on my face. Unfortunately, I am not here referring to the sacred act of prayer. I am speaking of the kind of "on your face living" that involves a swift fall greeted by an unforgiving surface. If I were a runner, I would be more familiar with the smell of the track than the feeling of the finish line. In my life I have come to see that I fall, and then I fall again. I do not record these things to encourage self-deprecation or even to promote myself through some form of feigned humility. I just desperately want to be honest with myself. The "believe in yourself" messages have never held much weight with me because, well, I have never seen much to believe in. And what I intend to write on tonight is not the mundane moral tale of how even the most successful of men have failed plenty of times. I do not intend on finding you statistics on how many baskets Michael Jordan missed or how many times Edison got the light bulb wrong. In fact, I want to avoid such things because I think this type of rhetoric is fundamentally missing the point.
I have learned to find great contentment in my overwhelming failure. As I read Mark 2, I cannot avoid basking in the great grace Jesus offers face-planters like me. Rather than attempt to conjure up some kind of "pull myself up from my bootstraps" mentality, or shut my eyes tight and start naming and claiming things, I would rather be honest with my sickness. If my time on the cold hard track of life's difficulties has taught me anything, it is this: I am hopelessly and desperately sick. I am thankful for the grace God has granted me that I might own up to this sickness. Because news that transcends any earthly success is waiting for me with open arms--- There is a Great Physician and He is good at what He does. Oh how thankful I am that Jesus did not come to call the religious! For I am not very religious. Oh how thankful I am that Jesus did not come to call the healthy! For I am terminally ill. But my life is not defined by my success or even my failure. My life is defined by the Great Physician who uses every bit of my short-coming to shine through His glory all the clearer. Every time that I fall is an opportunity for Him to pick me back up, force down the stones, and tell my tired heart: "Go now and sin no more." He never tires of doing this for His son. In fact, He delights in it! And every time I rise, I run a few feet farther than the last.
Here is what I know. I will never be self-reliant. I will never live a life of jaw-dropping success in the eyes of this world. No naming or claiming of any sort on my end will ever keep me on my feet. Though, even if I could, I am not sure I would want to be there. For it was on my face where I saw my sickness. It was on my face where I could do nothing but call out for The Physician. It is on my face where I can join with Paul and "boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." It is on my face where I find the joy in a life defined by this poem:
He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done. “Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher? I’ve spoiled this one.” I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted, And gave him a new one all unspotted. And into his tired heart I cried, “Do better now, my child.”
I went to the throne with a trembling heart, the day was done. “Have you a new day for me, dear Master? I’ve spoiled this one.” He took my day, all soiled and blotted, and gave me a new one all unspotted. And into my tired heart he cried, “Do better now, my child.”