Birds are by far the best at hiding their sickness. It’s actually a built-in defense mechanism within them, because sick birds are easy prey. When I was on the mission field in the Kingdom of Tonga, one of our congregants who worked for a wild bird sanctuary, knew I had a love for parrots, and asked me if I would take a look at one of her birds who was sick. Now, this little guy was in bad shape, and was obvious that this bird had been hiding his sickness for quite a while. Isolated in a dingy shed that was cold and drafty, it was only now that his sickness was beginning to manifest and could be hidden no longer.
Jesus said something to the man with a withered hand, “Step forward.” (Mark 3:3)
Now, this is a little like when you get pointed out by by security just before you go through the metal detector at the airport. “You there – step on over here.” “Ah, man.” Because, think of it, if you had a withered hand you wouldn’t be using it to wave at people, or give your friends a high-five. No, you’d be hiding that ugly thing. Nevertheless Jesus called him out by saying, “Step forward”.
I took that little parrot and brought him out of the cold, and into the house. Then I had a warming lamp placed right by his cage. This is exactly what Jesus was wanting to do with this man; and it’s what He’s wanting to do with each of us that is struggling with secret sin.
Jesus was trying to get him to…
1. Stop being isolated.
2. Stop hiding the problem.
3. Start receiving help in His arms, (and in His House, the Church).
4. Start warming-up to the idea that healing could be a reality.
Hiding your problem only prolongs the agony that you’re experiencing. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, and maybe even down-right embarrassing to ‘step forward’ and expose your problem to someone who can help. You might be hiding it well now, but deep down you know you’re sick. If something isn’t done soon, you know you could go down.
Yes, you are naturally acting on your built-in mechanism to hide, but won’t you show your pain to Jesus today? He’s not going to say, “Oohhh? Gross!?!!” No. He’s going to show you mercy, unconditional love, and begin to heal you, and bring about total restoration in your life.
May you step forward today.