Paradox: 1 : a tenet contrary to received opinion
2 a : a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true
: a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true
: an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises
: one that possesses seemingly contradictory qualities or phases
Merriam Webster Dictionary

I was at the community pool with the kids the other day reading a book while the kids swam in the 2 foot pool. A great way to spend the afternoon if you asked me. As I was reading I looked up to see that someone had come over and sat next to me. A middle aged lady and her developmentally disabled daughter sat down next to the bench I was sitting on. The daughter was in a wheelchair and was wide eyed with excitement watching the other children jumping about in the water. The mother leaned over to talk to her daughter even though it seemed that her daughter could not respond.
I talked to the mother a little bit and found out that the girl is 19 years old and her name is Grace and Glory, but everyone calls her Grace. Her birth mother had drug addictions and Grace was born with mental problems. Her adoptive mother, Judy, has taken several kids into her home when the parents had problems with addictions to drugs or alcohol.
So as I sat there reading my book I overheard Judy asking Grace if she would like to read. I looked up and saw Judy pull out the illustrated children's Bible. I had the same Bible when I was 8 years old, you know, the one with cartoonish illustrations. Anyway, when Judy pulled out the Bible you could sense the excitement that Grace felt. Judy handed the Bible to Grace and told her, "you pick the spot and I'll read you a story". Grace fumbled through the book and settled on a spot. Judy gently took the Bible out of Grace's hands and read this story:

"Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie‚—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 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."
John 5.1-9a

My heart broke hearing this loving mother, reading this Bible story to her young daughter, who is confined to a wheelchair.
My mind was racing. Why does this happen?
Why do we read about healings, and then read that we should do even greater works, and yet this young woman has been in a chair for the whole of her young life?
This is what theologians call a great paradox of the Christian faith. The Christian faith holds that healings should and do take place, even when it is totally contradictory to popular, and/or scientific opinion. And I've SEEN healings with my own eyes. I've seen people that have been deaf their whole lives utter their first words. It's a really amazing thing. But why doesn't it happen more often. Why to this one, but not the other one?

I don't get it

It didn't seem to bother Grace. She loved the story and looked around seemingly fascinated at the happenings of the community pool. She seemed very much at peace. She had a smile that showed that she had a deeper joy, something that can't be taken away from you.

"Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma, karma
She travels outside... of karma

When she goes to work you can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

She carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings...
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty in everything"

"Grace, U2"


Anonymous said...

My heart broke hearing this loving mother, reading this Bible story to her young daughter, who is confined to a wheelchair.
My mind was racing. Why does this happen?
Why do we read about healings, and then read that we should do even greater works, and yet this young woman has been in a chair for the whole of her young life?

Hi Jimmy
Tracy and I are up here in Pinecrest for the month of July.
Seth and Kiristina, with my new little granddaughter Elliott, will be arriving this afternoon.
Was reading your latest post at 6:00 AM this morning.
The greatest miracle in it for me was that... your HEART BROKE.
Mine started to as well.

This passage of Scripture has been swirling around in my head for the past year or so.
It has become living, active, and sharp as a surgical tool.
The word Bethesda literally means "House of Mercy."
When I read this verse several months back I realized that this POOL found its fulfillment in
the PERSON of Christ.
We no longer are waiting for an angel to come down and STIR the pool.
Today it is the Holy Spirit that STIRS the Church, The House of Mercy, The Living Waters,
and those who are gathering around paralyzed in more conditions than you and I could ever post, are being made whole. Do we see this CLEARLY?
I don't think so. But as we HEAR, we speak. And as we speak, our hearts are STIRRED.
Jesus is ALIVE. His shed blood has made us The House of Mercy by the mere fact He is in our midst and MIGHTY in WORD and DEED.

Perhaps this is question to the entire Body?
'Do you want to get well?

Bless you bro


Jenny Jorg said...

Isn't it odd how much more it bothers "us" more than those who have "problems" or disabilities. It makes me wonder if maybe they have it better off. Maybe they do. They have no problem asking for help, openly show their weaknesses, and live life to the fullest.

TGL said...

It is a constant amazement to me how much we can learn about ourselves, and about God by sitting around a pool, or playing at the park, or any other regular kind of thing we do. God is trying to teach us lessons, and on that day you were listening whether or not you understand it all.

I have a friend in my church choir that is blind. A great tenor voice. When he sings "I can only Imagine", it stirs my heart. He has such a great "view" on life, though he has no vision.

Keep listening.

lee said...

The oddest thing to me was that I was singing the lyrics you posted before I even got down that far & as soon as I read the daughter's name...

I'm always captured by those set apart as different by handicap or whatever...apparently I'm not the only 1. What if everyone were perfectly whole...would we have any reason to think of Him & ask why? Maybe these are blessed because of their calling & for the simple fact that at least there handicapping is apparent & visible...?

Anonymous said...

I adore the developmentally disabled. I love their joy and enjoyment of simple things that I take for granted. I love their trust. I love that they can be happy at the accomplishment of others even though they may never accomplish them. I love that they laugh and at times no one knows why. I like to think that their souls have a special kind of communication with God.