I recently heard a devotional written by Ron Hutchcraft, called No Paper Plates, challenging the reader to consider the contrast between 2 plates: one, paper and the other, china. Which one would you rather eat off of? After you’ve eaten, what would you do with the paper one? Throw it away! If you’d eaten on the china one, what would you do with it? Wash it! Why? Because it cost more, is worth more, could even be valuable. If you could BE a plate, which one would you want to be? China, of course.
But there are times in our lives when we feel more like a paper plate…someone used and thrown away.
What would you call it if I could turn this paper plate into a china plate? Magic. But, what if I could turn a paper plate person into a china plate person…that would be a miracle. Yes? I’m not a magician or a miracle worker, but I know someone who is.
There are 2 little verses tucked away in the 15th chapter of Matthew that talk about a miracle like that.
v. 30-31 …great multitudes came to Him [Jesus], bringing with them “paper plate” people…oh, wait a minute, that’s not exactly how the scripture reads…bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, those not able to speak and many others, and they laid them down at His feet… and He turned them into “china plate” people…or well, it actually says He healed them.
So that the crowds marveled as they saw them able to speak, the crippled restored, the lame walking and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.
There were 4 categories of people mentioned specifically: the lame, the crippled, the blind and the mute. Perhaps you’ve experienced one of these conditions.
First, there were the LAME. I recently had a knee replaced so I’m familiar with being lame or having trouble walking. Between arthritis and a bad fall, the pain was constant so a long-term solution was needed. In fact, in a few weeks my other knee goes under the knife because it hurts whenever I walk. I sometimes have to use a cane for support. But there’s more than one way to walk through life: not just the physical, but consider the emotional. Have you been lame from the injury of abuse—either childhood or spousal abuse? When you are abused by a parent or other adult, especially as a child, you can be emotionally, physically or sexually lame—unable to walk through life without limping, without pain.
This verse in Matthew says that the lame were walking once again. Jesus had healed the injury. If you have suffered the injury of abuse, and feel that it has made you damaged goods—used up like a paper plate—Jesus wants you to understand that He came to heal that lameness and transform your walk through life so it can be steady & balanced with no need of crutches like alcohol or drugs. However, you may need some assistance for a while, just like I will need a Physical Therapist to help me with rehabilitation after my surgery. There are counselors, there are books like Jan Coates book: Set Free, there are support groups to assist you. God wants to heal your heart of lameness.
The 2nd category mentioned is similar—they brought the CRIPPLED to Jesus as well as the lame. This group of people didn’t just have an injury to their legs or feet; they were born that way. They were considered defective. Perhaps you were born with a permanent disability of some kind. Or maybe you found yourself in a family that would be considered defective in some way: Perhaps your mother was a single parent and struggled raising you. Or maybe you were like me, and endured the distress and pain of your family breaking apart. You may see your situation as impossible. BUT God makes the impossible possible. The scripture tells us that Jesus restored the crippled. He made them whole, sound, reliable. He can make up for whatever is missing, whatever crippling influence is or was in your life. God wants to heal your life from being crippled.
Then the BLIND are mentioned—those who have no way to see. Many of us were unable to see the dangers in our world and fell into the devil’s trap. I include myself in this group – one of my boyfriends in school went on to become one of the highest-ranking Hell’s Angels in the state of California. We were part of a gang that was looking for trouble because our world was full of darkness. We were enticed by evils that are pleasing to the world. The book of 1 John speaks of 3 dangers in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. That triple threat held me captive to my own bad choices for many years. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, can heal our blindness to the consequences of evil that entices through the lust of the eyes. Jesus said (Matt. 18:9) that if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. He didn’t mean for us to literally poke our eyes out but He wanted us to understand that a blinded eye is better than a blinded mind…have you had a blind spot for the things of God? Jesus can restore your spiritual sight so you can see clearly to avoid the allure of evil and the lust of the eyes. God wants to heal your life of blindness.
The last group of people brought to Jesus that day were the MUTE or as the Bible calls them, the DUMB. They couldn’t speak. Many times we’re in situations where we can’t speak up for ourselves—whether at home or in a job or social situation. In your own mind, you may even feel dumb at those times but God always has something to say for every circumstance. His word imparts wisdom. The book of James says, “If any of you lack wisdom, … ask of God, who gives to all…generously and without reproach, and it will be given.” (1:5) God wants to heal your life from being mute.
The physical Jesus healed physical problems—but even though He isn’t physically present here today, He is the ultimate restorer who wants to heal the spiritual and emotional hurts in our lives through the Holy Spirit. Prior to His touch, we may look and feel “paper plate”ish. He wants us to understand that we are destined to be China plate people—not someone to be thrown away or discarded – rather a person to be cherished, useful to our Heavenly Master. Are you living up to your china plate potential? Have you had a miracle transformation from Jesus?