Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, March 7

Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 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 2:3-4

Many of you may be familiar with this story of the four friends who dug through the thatch-and-mud roof of a house in Capernaum so that their paralyzed friend could get to Jesus and, they hoped, be healed. In the story, Jesus is so moved by their faith that he does indeed heal the man.

Re-reading this story reminded me of a time when I was almost paralyzed myself. A number of things had befallen me, and I had undoubtedly contributed to the problem by making some unwise choices. Finally, one late summer weekend, my friend Lucy took matters into her own hands.

Over my protests, she arranged for me to attend a weekend silent retreat sponsored by Roman Catholic nuns. Lucy invited my two children to spend the weekend with her; then she picked me up, drove me to the retreat, and left me there. "This is what you need," she told me. "It will save your life."

I don't know how she knew that it would "save my life" nor how the paralytic's friends knew that Jesus would heal their friend. But both they and Lucy were right, on many levels.

That retreat began a healing process in me that is still taking place.

Friends can be catalysts for healing. Jesus certainly knew that; the paralytic learned that...and so did I.

Thanks be to God for friends who put our interests ahead of their own, and who bring us, sometimes kicking and screaming, to healing, and wholeness. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.