“And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when He saw their faith, He said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’ And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ When Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered them, ‘Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Rise and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—He said to the man who was paralyzed—’I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.
And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen extraordinary things today.'”
We have seen extraordinary things. I think it is interesting that the people used the plural here. Presumably it was particularly “remarkable,” as another translation says, that the man was able to walk home. It was shocking that Jesus forgave his sins. What else surprised them? Were they caught off guard by the faith of the man’s friends? Or that Jesus knew the Pharisees’ and scribes’ thoughts? Whatever it was, it led them to 1) be amazed, 2) glorify God, and 3) be filled with awe.
These are things towards which I strive as well. I often pray that God will be glorified in different situations, particularly ones that I find incredibly confusing or challenging, but often in less exciting ventures, too! I recently sat down and wrote out some goals for my time in graduate school, which probably fits into all three aforementioned categories and many more. Number one on the list is that “I want to do all things for the glory of God and to show love to others.” I want to know God better, to know how to serve and love Him, and as a result, to serve and love like Him. I want to see and note the extraordinary things that He does every day and to take the time to appreciate them, to be amazed and filled with awe, and then to glorify Him. Even when I’m not feeling completely bowled over by something I’ve seen, I want to be thinking about it and reflecting on it. I want to be a part of His extraordinary.
I’ve been asking myself every day, “What did I take in (see, hear, smell, taste, touch, etc.) that was extraordinary?” Today it was “watching the sun set over water.” A couple of weeks ago, it was “the capacity of human emotion.”
In “The Valley of Vision,” a book of Puritan prayers, there is a prayer called “The Great God.” I highly recommend reading it, and the last portion of the prayer captures the heart of my thinking and hope with my little venture into seeking the everyday extraordinary:
“Nothing exceeds thy power,
Nothing is too great for thee to do,
Nothing too good for thee to give.
Infinite is thy might, boundless thy love,
limitless thy grace, glorious thy saving name.
Let angels sing for sinners repenting, prodigals restored,
backsliders reclaimed, Satan’s captives released,
blind eyes opened, broken hearts bound up,
the despondent cheered, the self-righteous stripped,
the formalist driven from a refuge of lies,
the ignorant enlightened,
the saints built up in their holy faith.
I ask great things of a great God.”