Through the Roof
On November 2, 2002, the Marshall University football team was trailing the Akron Zips 27-10 with 7:06 left in the third quarter. The team was deflated following the brutal injury earlier in the game to their starting quarterback Byron Leftwich, who was sent to the hospital for x-rays on his broken shin. Yet suddenly, the offensive huddle noticed the crowd beginning to rumble. They turned their eyes toward a familiar number, seven. Their limping leader stood in the huddle ready to give it one more shot if even on one leg.
Each of us has gone through a setback in our lives. Those times when darkness seems to settle around us and it’s hard to even get out of bed. During this pandemic there are days when the news is too depressing, the anxiety weighs heavily and the stress of it all can be overbearing. What can we do? Let’s look to an example from the Gospel of Mark for how we can come back with a little help from our friends and try again like Leftwich.
Faith in Action
In Mark Chapter 2, early in Jesus’s ministry, we learn of a compelling story about courage and friendship. Jesus was relatively new on the scene but the buzz about him was beginning to reach Beatlemania status. He was teaching in a house that was packed with people who wanted to hear him speak and to potentially witness or partake in a miracle.
Somewhere nearby, four friends of a man who was paralyzed made the decision to bring their struggling friend to Jesus. They picked him up and carried him on his mat (who knows how far!) and when they got to the house saw that it was a packed house.
Imagine being the four friends. Probably tired. Maybe hungry or thirsty. One or more of them had to have thought, “Well, we tried! Maybe next time we’ll get to see Jesus.” But yet somehow they didn’t give up. Mark tells us, “They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.” Talk about perseverance.
Pick Me Up Lord, Every Day
Those of us who are college football fans or sports fans in general remember what took place next in that famous Marshall game. Leftwich began leading his team down the field. At one point he completed a 41 yard pass early in the fourth quarter. Unable to walk, let alone run down field, two of his offensive-lineman air lifted him forty yards to continue running the hurry up offense.  While the team would not complete the comeback, the image of courage and camaraderie is one forever imprinted on my mind.
In life we will get knocked down but it is how and with whom we get back up that matters. Those four friends wouldn’t take no for an answer. They knew that if they brought their friend to the Son of God that he could help heal him. And guess what? After absolving the paralyzed man of his sins (and putting a few Pharisees in their place) Jesus tells the man to walk and he is miraculously healed. But he wouldn’t have been without those four friends. Mark even describes that it was after “seeing their faith” that Jesus rewarded their love in action by healing their friend.
Someone you know is hurting or has been paralyzed by some fear or difficulty. What would happen if you and a few friends picked them up? What if you carried them to Jesus? Or if you’re the man on the mat would you have the courage to ask your friends to do so?
I challenge you to limp back into the huddle and take on the opposition that has left you injured. Lean on those strong friends with faith and love for you. You may not win the battle but in Christ you will win the war. Go through the roof for the healing and life giving promises God has made for your salvation today. And know that He will carry you through anything that gets in your way.
 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.””
Mark 2:1-5 NLT https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mrk.2.1-5.nlt