In 1969, when Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the moon, his famous words were, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This was a barrier that, for centuries, had seemed insurmountable. For as long as humanity existed, the moon hung in the sky as an unreachable beacon. But through collective effort, perseverance, and innovation, what once seemed impossible became a reality.
This triumph over the perceived barriers of our world brings to mind a profound event in the Gospel of Mark. In Mark 2:1-12, we read of a paralyzed man, carried by four of his friends, eager to see Jesus, hoping for a miracle. However, they found the house so crowded that they couldn’t get in through the door. But these men were not to be deterred. They went up to the roof, dug through it, and lowered their friend down to where Jesus was. They literally broke barriers to get to Jesus. The result? Jesus, seeing their faith, first forgave the man’s sins and then healed him.
So, what can we learn from this passage? What barriers are we facing in our lives? For some, it may be a physical illness. For others, it might be emotional or psychological wounds. And still, for some, it could be doubts, fears, or societal pressures.
Conventional wisdom often tells us that if something is challenging, perhaps it’s not meant to be. “Don’t push too hard,” we hear, “or you might break something.” But the story of the paralyzed man and his friends challenges this perspective. They didn’t accept the crowded room as the end of their journey. They sought another way, even if it meant breaking through barriers.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus never reprimanded them for damaging property or disrupting his sermon? Instead, he recognized their determination as a profound act of faith.
We are encouraged to break through our barriers with faith and to do so practically. If one approach doesn’t work, like entering through the door, seek another.
Seek Support: Remember, the paralyzed man didn’t come to Jesus alone. He had friends who carried him, who believed with him. In our moments of despair, when barriers seem too tall, we must lean on our community – our family, friends, church, and well-wishers.
Innovate: If the main door is closed, look for the roof. Life doesn’t always offer straightforward solutions. We must learn to adapt and improvise.
Keep the Focus on Jesus: Challenges can easily divert our attention from our spiritual goal. Whether it’s societal pressures, internal doubts, or physical hardships, we need to remember our ultimate aim – getting closer to Jesus.
Embrace Forgiveness: Before the physical healing came forgiveness. Sometimes, the barriers we face are tied to the emotional and spiritual burdens we carry. Embracing God’s forgiveness and forgiving ourselves and others might be the breakthrough we need.
Life is filled with barriers, both seen and unseen. But remember the moon landing or the relentless faith of the paralyzed man and his friends. With faith, support, and innovative thinking, we can overcome any obstacle in our path. Let’s take that leap of faith, break our barriers, and experience the healing touch of Christ. Amen.