Perhaps my favorite aspect of the Christian faith is that God pushes us to be resilient for Him. I think that some of the best parts of my life thus far have derived from times when I couldn’t imagine going on another minute and I heard God whisper “keep pushing!” If you truly love the Lord, I feel you have to build up a spirit of tenacity to counterbalance Satan’s never-ending schemes. Maybe the old Devil doesn’t bother you that much, but we go round and round on the daily. The battle has evolved into a dance of sorts: guessing his next move and stepping accordingly. I don’t always dance well and get knocked down quite frequently, but I get back up every time. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Christ didn’t call us to surrender at the first sign of trouble. God gave us brains but we fail to use them to find solutions when we face obstacles. We humans are notorious for believing our circumstances can’t get any worse when in actuality we can make them better through determination and a positive outlook. Life is what you make it.
In Mark 2 (and Matthew 9 and Luke 5 for that matter) we read about a quadriplegic man who had great friends that wouldn’t give up on him when I assure you he had given up on himself. For you see, Jesus was in Capernaum preaching. Imagine you desperately need a judicial pardon and the president just happens to come to your town for one day only. You’d sacrifice everything just to have a chance to talk to him.
Tonight, when you lie in bed trying to go to sleep, do me a favor and lie completely still. Don’t move one muscle, don’t scratch one itch. It’s hard. Living in a body that doesn’t work is not for the faint of heart, and we can assume from scriptures that this man had lived a relatively long life in a disabled state. I can testify as an incredibly medically fragile individual that without the hope of Christ life is very bleak. This unnamed man didn’t know Jesus yet but had heard stories of this Messiah who could remove sin and restore sight to the blind. He had four friends and nothing to lose. His friends probably woke him up that morning, cleaned him up, loaded him up on a gurney, and headed out for an adventure! But alas, Christ wasn’t preaching in a large synagogue, but a very small, non-ADA house. The crowd was crazy, everyone shoving to get a better view. They didn’t care that he was crippled, he was just in the way. What if it was cold and/or rainy? All the more worse. Time to pack it up and go home. They’d tried and failed. Here is where the story gets good: the group buckled down – all five of them – and decided they wouldn’t accept defeat that day. In what well may have taken hours, the four able-bodied men hoisted their friend to the roof and, as if they weren’t tired enough, dug a gurney-sized hole in the roof of this very small house Jesus was preaching in and lowered him into the house because it was worth everything if Christ could help their friend. This certainly wasn’t an easy task for this disabled man either, for he had to trust his four brothers to literally deliver his life safely into the hands of Jesus. The best part? His faith made him whole. “(Jesus said) ‘I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.’ And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.”
God likes to show off. God likes to use weak people to show His strength. God likes when we stand tall in the middle of a hurricane proclaiming “God has brought me this far and will not leave me now!” God appreciates and awards our resilience. And it’s worth every tear to have the King of the universe in your corner. With that you can move mountains and face every Goliath that comes your way.
It’s OK if you’ve been knocked down a thousand times. Now is the time to rise.