A crowd gathered in a neighbor’s home, hanging on every word spoken by the visiting teacher. Suddenly pieces of the ceiling began to rain down on the people as he spoke. Looking up, they saw a hole appear and a man on a cot lowered before Jesus.
Jesus raised his eyes upward and saw the man’s friends, still holding the ropes, peering into the open space. I imagine they explained why they chopped up the homeowner’s ceiling. Their friend was sick and in need of Jesus’ healing touch, but the crowds were so thick they couldn’t get through the door. They looked for an opportunity and found it on the rooftop. They were determined to get their friend help.
Jesus rewarded their faith and, I believe, their friendship by healing the man on the mat.
For me, the point of the story in Luke 5:17-19 is the perseverance of the man’s friends. The path to Jesus was blocked, but their desire to get help was stronger than the roadblock of inaccessibility. They made a way where there seemed to be none. They didn’t give up.
Allow me some poetic license here. Perhaps one of the men said, “We’ll never get in the house. We’re late and need to go back home.” Another said, “I don’t think this Jesus will do anything for him, no one else has helped him.” Or, “I’m not quitting. John needs a touch from Jesus, and I’m taking him, one way or another.”
Are we as committed as this man’s friends?
When we have a friend or family member in desperate need of healing from their addiction, do we go to any lengths to get them assistance? Or do we throw up our hands in frustration and walk away? I understand that oftentimes we need some distance from the problem to keep our own sanity intact. If our loved one doesn’t want help, then we can’t force it on them.
But, are we willing to go the extra mile for someone we love?
I think most of us are willing to go the extra mile, or two or three. Heaven knows, as family members we’ve canceled vacations, changed locations, mortgaged our homes for treatment costs or legal fees, and sat up all night worrying about our loved ones. We do what we have to do.
The Bible doesn’t say if this was the first time or the hundredth time the friends had taken him to a healing service—just that they got him to someone who could help. Perhaps you’ve taken your loved one to a treatment center a dozen times only to be met with resistance or failure at recovery. But you persevered and tried it again—one more time—and that was the time healing took place.
As the parable shows, persistence in the face of resistance is key to recovery or healing. You might have to dig through the proverbial ceiling for your loved one, but my guess is that’s just what you would do.