What if we actually got what we prayed for? What if we really got the miracle, won the lottery, or our prince/princess finally showed up?
One of my favorite stories in the bible is that of the paralyzed man who had to borrow the faith of his friends to get to see Jesus by way of a makeshift hole in a roof. There are many parallels that have been drawn from this story. The importance of friends, the significance of Jesus first forgiving the man’s sins and revealing himself as the One who grants forgiveness, the ugliness of the religious right off in the corner passing judgment, and even the correlation between the persistence of the friends cutting a hole in a roof that didn’t belong to them and our own desperation. I believe that these are all appropriate conclusions, but I think there is even more under the surface of this story if we play the tape all the way to the end.
Even though the man in the story had a physical miracle it doesn’t necessarily imply that his healing was without some major bumps in the road. The physical miracle was just the game changer. For him to experience the fullness of what Christ did for him he would not only walk away from his physical malady, but he would have to walk into a new way of being, thinking, and living. That is never without tension. This man would need these same friends who lowered him through the roof as much after the miracle as he did beforehand to help him rethink his world, his work, his relationships, and even his days when life on the mat might look easier.
I imagine him walking home thinking about how he was actually going to make a living now. What is going to be expected from him today that wasn’t expected of him yesterday? Suppose his mother has cared for him all these years and she is a person who needs to be needed. After all, her role and focus has been taken from her abruptly by the very thing she probably beseeched God for his whole life. The fact that he is now able to make decisions for himself or exert his opinions is going to challenge the roles of some of the people closest to him.
I’m told more people end up divorcing in recovery than in their active addictions.
So, what if we get what we’ve prayed for? What if we actually experience a sudden and miraculous change in our lives? Can we understand that even miracles can bring their own sets of expectations and challenges?
As recovering people we understand that each day we don’t go back to our old habits is truly our miracle. But it takes time for those around us to catch up. When we finally take up our beds and walk it doesn’t mean that everyone else in our lives is ready to give up theirs.