(Quick Refresher: Emunah is the Hebrew word for and understanding of faith: a belief in God which calls for a behavior consistent with reliance.)
I attended a Standing Room Only event at the library with my grandchildren. The Balloon Guy and his “world of balloons, magic, and juggling” played to a room jam-packed with excitable 3-12 year olds.
The Balloon Guy was a fireball, and the crowd’s excitement barometer escalated to WILD in a hurry.
I can’t blame the children for
pushing closer to the stage. . .
or screaming to be chosen . . .
but my head started to hurt.
The volume and confinement of the crowd wore me out.
I wonder if anyone in Capernaum feels an SRO headache creeping in . . .
The word is out.
The Teacher is back.
The Healer is here.
It’s a mob scene.
So many people have crowded into a house to gain access to Jesus that there is no more room.
Those who arrive late don’t stand a chance of seeing Jesus . . . do they?
Well, that depends . . .
Four men arrive carrying a paralyzed man on a mat.
Because of the crowd, they are not able to enter the house, so they give up.
“Sorry, buddy,” they apologize to the paraplegic. “We tried.”
When the four see that they cannot enter through the door, they move on to Plan B: Hit the Roof.
Once atop the house, they remove part of the roof and lower the paraplegic into the house.
I love a plan, but the focus of this story is not the plan – the focus is why the four refuse to accept overwhelming circumstances at face value.
Theirs isn’t a Hail Mary pass, but action based on a firm belief Jesus will help them.
Plan B is an act of faith,
a demonstration of trust,
In faith the four lower their friend until he lies at the feet of Jesus, then they release control. The rest is up to Jesus.
I love how they don’t follow their friend down through the hole in the roof and start trying to micromanage Jesus.
Their trust in Him moves Jesus to action:
When Jesus saw their active faith . . .
This leads me to consider how often . . .
my prayers include addendums spelling out how I think God should answer,
I pray, but don’t really expect anything to change,
I’m so sure things won’t change that I don’t even bother to pray.
Jesus saw their emunah . . .
their demonstration of trust in Him . . .
their exercise of reliance . . .
Sometimes I make faith harder than it has to be.
I invent faith hoops and exhaust myself jumping through them.
I focus on my failures and attribute them to a lack of faith.
I forget the faith Jesus notices is not how hard I’m convincing myself that I believe, but behavior that demonstrates reliance on Him.
Jesus talks about emunah over 100 times – not because faith is a merciless measuring stick designed to fail us, but because faith is a gift and an action designed to encourage and refresh us.
I want that kind of faith.
See you next week.