September 11, 2023 | Miami, Florida, United States | Leonard Johnson, executive secretary, Inter-American Division
In 2021, the Cambridge Dictionary carried as its word of the year perseverance. You may ask the question, what is perseverance? Perseverance. It’s that tenacity, that grip, that firm hold on a goal or objective where you are so determined that you will not let go. It is this very spirit and disposition that I find in a story in Mark’s Gospel Chapter two.
It’s the story of the paralytic or the crippled man that was carried by four of his friends. The Bible tells us, as I read it here, beginning at Voice one of Mark, Chapter two. A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even at the door.
Can you picture it? It is a crowded situation and it’s against this backdrop that you find the paralytic being carried by his four friends. They come now to the door, but as the Bible says, there was absolutely no room. What would they do? Persistence, perseverance dictates that you do not go back home. You do not abandon hope. You do not give up on your goal or your objective.
You continue to persevere and persist. And this is exactly what they did when they could find no room. The Bible tells us that they went up on their rooftop and they removed part of the roof and lowered their friend. I tell you today, whatever your situation is, it may appear to be bleak. It may appear to be without any hope.
But when Jesus is in the picture, there is a sense of hope. But the part that we have to play must be one of perseverance. One of persistence, where we do not give up. We do not let go of our faith. As someone said, we doubt our doubts, but never our God. May God strengthen you today that you will not let go, that you will not give up.
Because remember when the Bible says there was no room? That was not a permanent declaration. It was simply a declaration of the moment. Because as you will see later in the story, Rome was created and this man was healed because of the persistence of his friends and himself.
May God give you that spirit of courage and persistence today and always.