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Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” ~Luke 5:18-20, NLT
Standing in the center of a clump of people at the altar one morning, as I prayed for a woman who had requested prayer, I felt a new hand on my back. I heard Sandee’s voice. I leaned back slightly into the pressure of her hand. And I rested, knowing that these prayers were for me. I laid down the worries I had and let her words wash over me.
After she prayed, she put her arm around me and squeezed. And said, “I don’t want you to have to go through this again.”
Me either. My dad has cancer. Stupid, stinkin’, honkin’, blasted cancer. I lost my mom to that awful disease nearly three years ago. Believe me, I don’t want my dad to go through this, and I don’t want to, either.
When Sandee prayed for me that morning, I pictured the men carrying the paralytic on the mat. Hauling him up to the roof because they couldn’t get through the people crowding the house where Jesus was. Tearing off mud and tile — they had to make noise and a mess, and people had to be watching, but no one stopped them. And then carefully lowering him down to Jesus, muscles straining, sweat dripping. Because they knew what Jesus could do for their friend. And they knew their friend couldn’t do it for himself.
I went home and read all three accounts of this story (Matthew 9, Mark 2 and Luke 5). And noticed something. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the paralytic asked his friends to take him to Jesus. I think I’d always assumed they did it because he asked for their help. I just assumed that the one in need of healing would take the first steps (literally or figuratively) toward the Healer.
But in this case, I think it was his friends. They took it upon themselves to carry him. To put him where he could receive help, help that they couldn’t give him. And when they did, when they fought through the crowds and excavated a hole large enough for their friend, Jesus said, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” And then He healed the man’s body too. As always, the soul was healed first. As always, Jesus knew just what was needed.
And so did the paralyzed man’s friends. They’re the ones who carried him. Like Sandee carried me. Like friends do in this Kingdom. Because sometimes we’re too weak. Sometimes we’re frightened, alone, filled with shame, overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of the problem. Sometimes we’ve lost direction and don’t know how to get there. And sometimes we’re not even aware of what we truly need.
So today, my friends, will you please let me help carry you to His feet? Comment below with your needs, or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I commit to lifting you up — or lowering you down through the roof. Let me carry you today. And then, tomorrow, we can each grab hold of a different mat and help carry another. Until we’ve laid the whole world at the feet of God.