It seemed like an ordinary hospital discharge visit on the day I asked my patient if she had a caregiver at home. She was close to 90 years old, after all, and I did not want her to be alone so soon after orthopedic surgery. She assured me that she did and added, “this one takes real good care of me.” As we walked down the hall, our conversation continued. I ultimately learned that her caregiver was a homeless man that she had invited to live with her and assist with her care until he could get back on his feet again.
This lovely woman went on to explain that she lives in a modest home about a mile from a homeless men’s shelter. She has met and nurtured many of the men along the way, and no less than nine of them have lived in her home with her over the years. As if she suddenly read my mind, she added, “Oh honey, I’ve never been afraid of them! They’ve been nothing but good to me.” As she spoke of how her faith compels her to offer this ministry, I knew I was in the presence of a daughter whose faith God sees.
Perhaps the most powerful word in today’s text is “their.” When Jesus sees their faith, he is moved to speak healing words to the paralytic. If we are to learn anything from these four friends, let it be that God calls us to bring hope to the hopeless. Like my dear patient who extends radical hospitality to homeless people, like countless other servants who bring God’s love to places that the world ignores, God still calls the spiritual descendants of those four friends. May we strive to be living examples of intercession, faithful and fearless in the pursuit of healing.
How is God calling you to care for the needs of those who cannot care for themselves?
Holy God, teach us to see as you do. Help us to notice those who need our care and give us the resources and courage to help meet their needs and be part of their healing process. Amen.