What is your mat? I’m not talking about your yoga mat. What’s the thing you have been laying on or confined to that might represent an illness, dysfunction or situation? My mat has been this endo illness.
There was a man paralyzed for thirty-eight years, who was confined to a mat. (See John 5:1-13). He parked his mat beside the pool of Bethesda and waited for someone to put him in the water so he could be healed.
Year after year no one helped him, and he remained paralyzed. Until one day, Jesus walked up to him and asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” He didn’t answer Jesus’s question, but he gave an excuse and all the reasons why he wasn’t healed.
I wonder if this was the first time he’d heard this question or the 38th time he’d heard it.Whether it was the first time or not, he said, “I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is disturbed, and while I’m trying to get there, someone goes in ahead of me.”
Why didn’t he ask someone to help him into the pool? Maybe he feared being misunderstood, rejected or ridiculed. So he didn’t ask for help.
Jesus said to him, “Get up and take up your mat and walk.” And the man did just that. He got up and walked around carrying his mat, which represented his sickness and disability. He was now holding in his hand the thing that he had been bound to for years. Jesus could have said “Get up and walk,” and that’s it. But he didn’t. He made sure the man picked up the thing, which had labeled him as a sick man, so everyone could see he was no longer confined to his mat and no longer paralyzed.
Now he had a story to tell. Can you see him saying, “You see this mat? Can you believe I laid on this old thing for thirty-eight years? But guess what, this man named Jesus spoke to me and told me to get up.”
I imagine him walking by other people that were mat-bound, and their eyes fell upon him, and he shared his story all over again. His story released hope in their hearts for them to be able to walk, too.
While his testimony gave hope to others, it caused an uproar with the Pharisees. They said to the man, “Why are you carrying your mat? It is the Sabbath.” His mat story made them so uncomfortable.
But he didn’t care. He carried his mat and told them, “The man who healed me — He’s the one who told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
What is your mat story? Is it about dealing with an illness or is it about how God restored your marriage? Is it about how God helped you make it through school or provided for you in the tough times? Is it about how you’re a survivor of cancer or freed from an addiction? Is it about going through foreclosure and bouncing back, or how you endured the loss of a loved one?
Whatever it is, pick it up and showcase it for all to see that it no longer defines you.
Here’s what I’m asking God…
God, I hear you speaking over me, “Take up your mat and walk.” You have given me the grace, power and ability to go forth and use that thing (mat) in my life that I was confined to. You let me use it as a testimony ofYour goodness and power over my circumstances. I will lift my voice in boldness. May You be glorified as people hear my story.
P.S. This is an excerpt from my book Dear Woman: Get Well Letters of Hope. Inside the devotional are fifty-two letters of hope and each one will brighten your journey with a light of hope to get up and go! If you’re looking for comfort for your soul, encouragement for your heart, and inspiration for your mind then this book is for you, Dear Woman 🙂
Check out my inspirational and encouraging book trailer here!
Joining Holley Gerth and friends for a weekly Coffee For Your Heart link-up.