2 So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and He was speaking the message to them.3 Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men. 4 Since they were not able to bring him to[a] Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying.5 Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
I’ve heard this account of Jesus healing the paralytic since I was a small child. I’ve understood that though this man struggled with paralysis, a condition that had to be more difficult than I can even imagine in his day, he was also blessed with some extraordinary friends. Friends who were willing to go to great lengths to love him. To carry him. To be a nuisance to others as they pushed through the crowd that day. To be so fully committed to their friend that they would conquer any obstacle to help him.
Yet, somehow I missed the heart of Christ when he healed this man. He healed the man because He saw the faith of his friends. It was their faith in action that captured Christ’s attention. Faith that was big enough to go out on a limb, push through a crowd, bust open someone else’s roof – all because they KNEW beyond the shadow of a doubt that Christ could heal their friend.
What if the paralytic had decided he didn’t want to bother his friends? What if he decided that his condition left him to “different” to even invest in friendships? What if he had instead pulled away from them altogether? Much less admitted that he needed their help?
It’s hard isn’t it? This admitting that we might possibly, perhaps, just maybe need help from others. But it’s also critically important. Without such vulnerability, this man’s friends would not have expereinced Jesus in such an up close and personal way. The crowds would not have witnessed the miracle. We could not read about it. The paralytic would not have been healed. all of us would have missed out on so much.
What has my own independence cost me? What have I missed out on because I don’t want to bother anyone else? Because I don’t want to admit I need help? Because even if I can admit my need to myself, I surely don’t want to tell anyone else?
Doing life together requires letting others into my sotry. the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s part of the design for our growth.
Whatever is keeping me, it isn’t worth exchanging for the benefits of walking with others. Who knows that the faith of my friend couldn’t be the door to my own healing, and theirs, and untold others. Who knows that my fait couldn’t do the same for them.
So next time I’m in need of a friend I’ll choose to reach out. To receive. To fully experience His reward in the comfort and healing. Won’t you join me?