And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” ~Matthew 9:2
Two weeks ago, my wife looked at me after the service and said, “We need to get you some new clothes. You sweat so much and move your arms so much in the sermon that we need to find something that hides your sweat stains.” Well, God does provide…I rolled into the service the next week (with an undershirt on) to discover that the high school had failed to turn on the air-conditioning for us in the middle of the summer. How best to hide my sweat…by having everyone sweat alongside me.
So people who worship with us know that I sweat a lot; folks who workout with me know that I sweat a lot; folks who see me at the pool, WholeFoods, Caribou know; probably even folks who talk with me on the phone know that I sweat a lot.
So, yeah I know I sweat.
But then I have to remember how my sweat saved my life.
When I was in seminary, a friend going through med school called me one day saying, “Hey, Wes, did you know that they make prescription strength anti-perspirant?”
Intrigued but embarrassed, I called a dermatologist. However, I did not want to just come right out and say, “I have a sweating problem.” So I went to the appointment under the guise of a mole check. I figured after a quick survey a few moles, I could say, “Oh, hey, by the way…could you break out that prescription pad and hook me up with some antiperspirant?”
Well, halfway though this ruse, the dermatologist goes…”Hmmmm….I think I need to biopsy that mole.”
In my mind, I wanted to protest saying “No, no, I am here for deodorant really…that’s not why I came. Listen, this is what I want.” Yet I laid still too afraid to speak, and so began the discovery of melanoma.
2 melanoma surgeries, 7 dysplasia surgeries, 27 biopsies later, I am kinda of glad that I sweat a lot.
Having been taken to the doctor by a friend to get healed of my hyperhidrosis (I WebMDed it), I felt like the paralyzed man who was brought before Jesus by his friends. After the men worked hard to bring this sick man before Jesus, Jesus looks at him and says, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Like me getting a cancer diagnosis, if I were that paralyzed man, I would start shouting. “No, wait, Jesus…that’s not why we are here. We are here so you can fix my legs. Not this sin stuff” But Jesus looks deeper, and sees the needs we have that are far more severe, far more deadly, and need to be redeemed immediately.
We often come to Jesus on our terms asking him to heal this, fix that, repair that, and to break out the prescription pad for the medicine we want to take. Yet, if we let Him do His job, He is going to look below the surface to see what we really need.
So, yeah, I know I sweat a lot; and I am glad I do. It reminds me of my mortality, that this life is not my own, this life I cannot control, and that this life is a gift from God so I better be perspiring for Him.