Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof . . . (Luke 5:18-19).
I don’t understand the world of finance very well, but I’ve been hearing plenty this week about the Federal Government’s bail-out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Listening to the news this week, what I’ve come away with is this: the government’s action isn’t a great plan, but it’s far better than the alternative.
Not unlike the decision to carry a paralyzed man to a rooftop, make a hole, and then lower him into the house.
The rooftop was “plan B.” As Luke tells it, the original plan was far simpler. These friends planned to take their buddy to see Jesus. They would lift his mat, carry him to the place was Jesus was reported to be, and make their way to the teacher as the crowd parted like a thin curtain.
It didn’t happen that way. They carried their friend to the house . . . where they were promptly told to take a number. Seems that no one had the slightest interest in letting them through. They regroup. And then they look up. The rooftop wasn’t the easiest way to get into the house. Getting there was physically demanding, making a hole would be messy, and some homeowner would be bent out of shape.
The rooftop was innovation and ingenuity. It wasn’t a great plan, but it was better than the alternative. Either go through the roof, or go home.
At some level, faith can be understood this way: whatever it is that drives us toward Jesus is stronger than the things that would keep us away. We simply must lay our burdens, our lives, our loved ones before Jesus. Nothing else will do. Nothing else will work.
I’m writing this much earlier in the day than usual. My son woke up around 3:30 a.m., bad dream or something. He was calling for his mom and it woke both of us. As Marnie calmed him, I went in to check on him – but he wasn’t too interested in Dad. This was something that only Mom could make right.
There are some things that only Jesus can make right. And when we act on that conviction, we’re living by faith.
Knowing how to get to Jesus is what we struggle with. In our minds we know that Jesus hears our prayers. But so often, even when we pray fervently, the way seems blocked. One option is to decide you’ve done all you can do and go home. A better option is to keep looking for a way to get in front of Jesus. Keep praying. Keep seeking. Refuse to carry the burden any longer.
In the Old Testament Jacob wrestled with God and said “I will not let you go until you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Faith does that. It wrestles its way into the presence of Jesus because going home isn’t an option. Only Jesus will do. How will you climb to the rooftop today – and what will you take up there with you?
Lord Jesus, I bring my life before you today, undaunted by the obstacles that seem to block the way: busy-ness, fatigue, the presence of others who tell me not to bother. In you and you alone are hope and healing. Give us faith strong enough to wrestle. “Our eyes look to the Lord our God till he shows us his mercy” (Psalm 123:2). Amen.