And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. (Mark 2:4)
Do you have a favorite Bible story from your childhood? Not to be confused with favorite Bible verses because they might not be story-centric – but the stories in scripture are often better than a soap opera. And likely at least one of them spoke to you in a special way as a child.
I do not remember precisely when I first heard this story from the gospel of Mark about the healing of the paralytic, but it was one of the few things I do remember from Sunday School.
The narrative goes like this: Jesus is in Capernaum and a great crowd surrounded where he was staying. A group of people came carrying their paralytic friend on a mat, but the crowd was so immense that they could not get inside. So they went up on the roof, cut a whole into it, and lowered their friend right down in front of Jesus. And it says, “When Jesus saw their faith…” their friend was restored.
In so many of the healing stories, restoration is dependent upon an individual’s faith. Rarely is it based upon someone else’s. But here, in the midst of the fast-pace story of Mark, we find these friends who will do anything to see this one made well.
Even as a child, something about that image spoke to me. Imagine a friendship like that. Were that we all were so blessed with such people around us.
As I grew up, it came to my attention the importance of who’s faith was responsible. Here is why: once we have grown up, gone through some of life’s trials and tribulations, many of us become jaded and lose our faith. Sometimes only for a little while. Sometimes for much longer. The wonder of this miracle is the promise that not only will God be present through those wanderings, but there will be others who can be sources of faith for us.
If you are currently or ever in the future going through a difficult time, may this story of the paralytic encourage you: you are not alone. Even if you lose your faith, God will bless you with others who believe in your midst to draw you back. This is not the end. And you are loved more than you can possibly imagine.