3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
Last night, Hubs took the kids on a bike/wagon ride. They’ve been begging us for days, especially Olivia who has graduated from her tricycle to a training-wheeled two-wheeler this year. She just loves to jet around on her bike, though she doesn’t have much skill yet. I stayed home to do dishes and enjoy a few minutes of, well…quiet, honestly. I was about to sit down at the computer to catch up on e-mails and blogging when the phone rang. Somehow, I just knew it would be Hubs telling me someone was injured. I grabbed my keys before I even picked up the phone. They were only a few blocks away, but Olivia had fallen and scraped her knee enough to make it bleed and was crying. He offered to bring them all home but I told him I would be right there. I felt like an ambulance driver as I whipped around the corners to the parking lot where they were waiting. I’m good in a crisis. I can focus singularly on the problem, while offering comfort to the victim. Yeah, it’s a weird skill set I’ve been blessed with…
Charlie scooped her into the van where she proceeded to show me her boo-boo and ask for a really, really big band-aid and an equally big bowl of ice cream. (Yes, we use food to comfort around here.) When we got home, she immediately began to protest the application of anything that might actually cleanse her wound, but the promise of sprinkles and or chocolate syrup on her ice cream bought me enough time to get her cleaned up, boo-boo creamed and bandaged. She had a ring of chocolate around her smiling mouth by the time her sisters walked in the door.
During devotions, Charlie shared the story of the paralytic man and his friends. I had done the same devotion with the girls Friday evening, so they giggled halfway through the story. (At least they were polite enough not to interrupt him with a chorus of, “We already did that one, daddy!”) As with most of our discipling, I always get more out of the kids’ Bible stories than they do. I was struck by the fact that the paralytic man’s friends were undeterred by the crowds around Jesus. They also managed to hoist this man onto a roof, cut a hole into it and then lower tha man down to Jesus. Basically, these friends allowed nothing to hinder them from getting their friend to the One who could truly heal him. They were like paramedics…they knew enough to care for their friend in the intermediate, but also knew that their friend needed the Great Physican.
Am I that kind of friend? Especially in the times we’re living in… I don’t know about you, but life has been a little less joyful for us lately. God is still with us, still on His throne, still in control, but we’ve had some battles, some circumstances out of control, bad news come our way, extra strain on our finances, unexpected road blocks. We trust God, but this is a hard time for a lot of people, not just us. My tendency is to batten down the hatches and protect myself and those I love. If it requires a lot of personal sacrifice to minister or witness, if I have to give up more of my time, more of my freedom, be uncomfortable– I don’t really want to do it. I can find hundreds of excuses not to step out. I can hide behind my responsibilities or even invent more responsibilities to escape the uncomfortableness of ministry.
But not these friends. They loved their friend. And not from a distance. They carried him. They were intimately aware of his physical situation. And they believed in Jesus. And not just from a distance. They knew Jesus had the power to touch their friend and make him whole. Their friend could have a new life in Christ. So they sacrificed and brought their friend to Jesus.
I am so challenged by this today. In this time we’re living…when things are uncertain and our world is changing so rapidly–it is declining, you know–I must be bold. I must carry those I love who are paralyzed by fear, doubt, sin, depression, anxiety, worry to the only One who can truly bring healing and new life to them. Jesus. Just being their friend isn’t enough. Who am I, anyway? Do I have the power to really affect change in a person’s life? No! But the power of Christ working through me…
So, if you’re still with me–either out of politeness, boredom or you are somehow sensing conviction in your own life– let’s ask God to make us bold. Let’s ask Him to help us cast off our pride, our own selfish ambitions, our own anxieties and insecurities. Let’s ask Him to help us carry others to Him. Let’s ask Him to fashion us into instruments of His grace. Let’s ask Him to strengthen us in a way that we are able to carry others through the crowds and onto the roof top and into His presence.
Let’s ask Him to make us willing to be made willing…
Father, thank You for using everyday experiences to teach me. Thank You for the friends who brought me to You when I needed healing. Make me a friend like that. I am willing to be made willing. I am willing to be more like You…In Jesus’ Name, Amen.