Overwhelming circumstances and situations are hard, and they can be a barrier to accomplishing goals and fulfilling dreams. We become overwhelmed, so our natural response is to quit. Mark and Luke introduce us to four friends who encourage us not to quit. The Gospel writers introduce these four men through a fifth friend who is unable to walk.
Totally reliant on other people, the man spent his days on a mat. He was unable to move, and his friends cared about him. They made sure his needs were met. They wanted to help the man as much as they could, but there was only so much they could do.
The friends heard how Jesus was performing miracles and helping all kinds of people. “if they could only get their friend to Jesus,” they thought, “what could he do?”
Jesus came to their town one day, so the friends carried the man to see him. They arrived at the house only to see the crowd was large. They had to get their friend to Jesus, but it seemed there was no way to get any closer.
It would have been easy for the friends to quit at this point. They could have given each other a high five for trying and went about their day. What would have happened if the friends quit? There are times in life when it would be easy for you and me to quit. What happens if we do?
Thankfully, the man’s friends decided not to quit. Their persistence helps us understand what it looks like not to quit.
Not Quitting May Be Unconventional
The four friends faced what seemed to be an impossible task. They had to carry a man through a large crowd to get Jesus’ attention. They devised a plan to bypass the crowd and go through the roof. Their plan was unconventional and risky. They could fall; the man could fall, and deroofing might upset the homeowner. To spite the risks, the men proceed.
The friends practiced what John Maxwell calls the Law of Victory. They did not give up when obstacles were standing in their way. They were determined to get their friend to Jesus. “Fulfilling a dream often does not come easy or within the realm of the conventional,” Maxwell says. In this case, the men had to proceed with a plan built on faith. Realizing their goal of placing their friend before Jesus meant stepping out on faith.
We, too, must build our plans on faith and step out on faith to see our dreams fulfilled. Obstacles may stand in our way, so we must be determined to allow the Lord to help us step around them. While it may be risky and unconventional, not quitting may require us to step out in faith.
Not Quitting May Exercise Our Faith
In He Still Moves Stones, Max Lucado says, “Faith does these things. Faith does the unexpected, and faith gets God’s attention.” It certainly did in this moment. Jesus was so moved by the men’s faith that he healed the man lying before him on a mat. The man who couldn’t walk into the house was able to walk out of the house. And, it is safe to say the crowd stepped aside so he could walk through the door.
Though facing overwhelming odds, the four friends were determined to get the man to Jesus, so he was able to walk out of the house. They stepped out on faith rather than quitting.
You may be facing overwhelming odds today. Life may be in a horrible place right now, but please don’t quit. Rather than quitting, devise a plan built on faith
Stop and think about your plan for a moment. Ask yourself these questions.
- What’s the next step in accomplishing my goal?
- What’s the next move in fulfilling my dream?
- What can I do to start going around the overwhelming obstacles? Perhaps it is getting more information, enrolling in a class, asking for help with my resume, or taking the first step to reconcile a relationship.
- What action step can I take today to start the plan in motion?
Follow the example of the four friends and put your plan in motion. I can’t promise the outcome, but I can relay a promise the Lord gives. That is, he will always be with you. He will not ignore your faith.
Identify the obstacles standing in your way and enact a plan to overcome them. Ask the Lord to help you each step of the way.
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