Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:1-38, Numbers 19:11-21, Hosea 2:19-20
I committed an embarrassing crime in my favorite pair of boots. With double-knotted laces and heels worn from hopscotch, those shoes supported me during some of my best moments, from resting on foot pedals during piano recitals to walking across the stage to accept awards for reading and attendance. They were impressive shoes for an equally impressive first grader, or so I thought.
And then one day, I stepped off the school bus and sat at the kitchen table to begin my homework. From here, the details get a little foggy. All I know is that a light-hearted family conversation escalated to a hearty quarrel when I stood up, angrily seeking my next victim. Without my brain’s permission, my foot swung backward to gain momentum and forward to meet a target. I kicked a hole in my parents’ couch—not a small one, either.
While my parents were certainly less than pleased, they soon realized this deed came with a built-in punishment. After the couch had to be moved down the stairs, out the door, and across town to be repaired, I would have to explain to any guests why we temporarily had no place for them to sit.
“Oh, the couch? I broke it.”
When I remember this story, I sometimes wonder if we’re all walking around with our own versions of kicked-in couches, whatever they may be, always aware of our brokenness.
My family? We’re struggling.
My job? It’s difficult.
My body? It’s hurting.
My heart? It’s suffering.
My circumstances? They’re unfair.
In Matthew 9, we find person after person in physical suffering, and yet, Jesus’ response to each one is very similar.
“Have courage, your sins are forgiven” (v. 2).
“Get up and walk” (v. 6).
“Have courage, your faith has saved you” (v. 22).
“Let it be done according to your faith” (v. 29).
Here, Jesus isn’t telling us to brush ourselves off from the hurt; He is showing us what it means to be whole again. It’s more than the healing of our bodies, our families, or any other shattered piece we may be holding. True healing can only be found through forgiveness, and ultimately, through Jesus’ broken body and shed blood. He knew that “it is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick… For [He] didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners (Matthew 9:12-13).
Jesus calls out a truth that maybe we’re too afraid or wrapped up in our circumstances to admit: Broken lives require faith. We may not know what to do with broken pieces and messy circumstances, but He certainly knows what to do with the bold faith of His children. Jesus uses the broken pieces to draw us to His wholeness.