It would have been hot.
The house was packed with people; Friends, supporters, family members, — even a few enemies — were present.
Bodies pressed against one another and sweat mingled as everyone tried to catch a glimpse. Every single person wanted to see the local celebrity inside the house.
It was surprising he even chose to be there. With celeb-status like his, there was absolutely no reason to hang out anywhere but a stage, but he was more approachable than that. He wanted to be in the home of his friends.
He was conversing with those around him, even a few who weren’t really his fans.
As the day grew hotter, the house became even more packed, until there was absolutely no room to move.
Suddenly there was a slight commotion at the door.
Onlookers craned their necks to see what was happening, but they couldn’t shift their weight enough to be productive. After a momentary lull in all the conversations, the commotion was forgotten. The celebrity resumed chatting with the men and women near him.
A few moments later, there was another interruption. This time, the crowd felt something falling into their hair. Sand and dirt trickled down from above, eventually picking up speed.
Much of the crowd ducked their heads and searched for cover. What was happening? Was there an attack? The noise level rose and the uncomfortable temperatures were soon forgotten. The safety of the crowd appeared to be in jeopardy.
But then, as quickly as it began, the dirt shower stopped. As the crowd gingerly stood and lowered their hands from their eyes, a large hole came into view. A hole had been made in the roof!
Despite the close quarters, the crowd began to part directly beneath the new skylight. What was up there?
Everyone shifted and squirmed when the sunlight was blocked again, momentarily. Something was covering the hole.
Looking up from underneath, it appeared that the “something” was coming closer. It was being cautiously and carefully lowered towards the crowd.
A few onlookers panicked from the unknown. A woman in the corner let out a shriek. A small child whimpered in fear.
But as I stood directly beneath the hole, I realized that the mass being lowered was my son.
My son has a paralyzingly condition. It has made him incapable for many years. He is helpless in many situations and relies completely on others for most of his daily tasks.
The unknowns of his future and his ability to remain safe also paralyze him daily.
As I watched my son be lowered through a hole in the roof, I caught a glimpse of a familiar silhouette. I could barely see through the hole, but I recognized the dark shadow blocking part of the sun. The shadow was a man standing on the roof.
That man — I knew him. He was my former high school teacher.
I caught a glimpse of another one of the figures on the roof, as she carefully lowered my son further into the room. She was a student in my husband’s youth ministry.
Next to her was my best friend’s husband. And beside him was my bank teller.
Though I couldn’t see beyond those four shadows, I knew the roof was filled with people who love my son.
And now, they were all working together to lower him in front of the most prominent member of the crowd — the man everyone was straining to see.
I began to tremble. What might the celebrity say? This whole act felt inappropriate. My friends were going to make fools of themselves. The plan was doomed.
With doubts in my mind, I joined my friends in the prayer they were whispering; “Please find favor in my son. Heal his paralyzingly condition.”
In the moment of my hesitancy though, the man of nobility and status forgave the sins of my lowly son. The celebrity wiped away the sins of blatant disobedience. He erased the sins of omission. He washed my son’s slate clean.
Some of the haters in the crowd spoke up. They didn’t approve of what was being done. They weren’t interested in providing false hope. They let their objections be known.
So then this famous man did something unbelievable.
He looked at my son, and he said, “Stand up. Be healed, and go home.”
And my firstborn did just that.
His heart began to heal. His paralysis fell away.
He stood up, gathered his belongings, and returned home – able to walk and skip and jump again. He played, he rode his bike, and he filled our home with laughter once more. The shackles of fear and shame were no longer bound to him.
My son, who was once paralyzed by fear and anxiety, had been healed by the Savior. His special needs and his disability kept him from being able to approach Jesus, but my friends, my family, my people – they made a way.
This story is my hope.
This story is my prayer.
At this point in his life, Nasko needs us to carry him to Jesus. My boy is unable to get there alone. But my friends — you — you’re carving a hole in the roof and are lowering my son before the Savior at 6:12 pm every night.
And because of your faithfulness, and because of the sweet compassion my Savior possesses, I believe my paralyzed son will soon walk again.
Thank you for joining us in praying for Nasko every night. This morning I go pick him up from the hospital. I could be afraid, but I’m not; My friends are holding the corners of his mat. He will walk again.
[This post is loosely based on a story of true devotion and friendship that is found in the bible: Luke 5:17-26. I took creative liberties as I wrote this story as if it were my own. I urge you to read the real story in scripture, so you will know the truth of God’s word as opposed to just my fictional retelling.]