While reading through my bible study “Stronger” by Angela Thomas, she speaks about the faith of the paralyzed man as depicted in the New Testament story found in Mark Chapter 2.
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now, in our study Angela talks about the faith of the paralyzed man and while I, too, have much to learn from the faith exhibited through his character, I find myself looking at the faith and determination of his friends. We all have people in our lives that are struggling, truly struggling whether that’s physical illness or emotional brokenness and the only peace they are going to find is from the Spirit of the Lord! I have recently found myself surrounded by dear friends that are struggling in areas such as finding one’s identity, unemployment, and infertility. I have no expertise in any of these areas and I am not equipped to counsel these friends in how to cope with such but I find encouragement in the above passage and in the example given by those friends.
When I lost my mom, I found myself in a state of desperation. I had experienced loss before but this was different. I had no idea how to function. I handled it well on the outside (I think?) but I was really having a hard time figuring out how to find my new normal. However, I had friends who were there for me and who were instrumental in that season of my life. One of them never left my side for days – seriously, slept on my couch and walked that journey with me each step of the way. One invited me out to my happy place to have a few days to get away and gave wise counsel. One drove 2 hours multiple times in the first few months after her passing just to spend time with me and be there for me to talk about what I was experiencing. One simply cleaned my room for me while I was away from my apartment – a simple act of service that meant more than words could say. Two showed up on my first birthday without my mom unannounced with flowers and laughter and listening ears – which was a gift I could never repay. Two others had walked in my shoes a couple years before and gave priceless advice as to different emotions she had felt and how she dealt with them which made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my grief.
While each of these friends exhibited Christ’s character in different ways, they each were and still are vital in my healing process. They literally picked up my mat of despair and carried me to the feet of Jesus. We don’t have the answers for the heartache and the worry but we do know the one who does. We must bind up our friends in their brokenness and physically carry them to the throne of Grace. He is able! He is able to heal and He is able to equip each of us with the wisdom needed to serve our friends in their time of need! You may feel inadequate to help a friend in need and let’s be honest, in our own strength, we are inadequate but He will empower us with His strength to bring peace and comfort to His children.
Who do you know that needs healing? How can you carry them to the feet of Jesus? It is easy to say “I don’t have anything to say to help her.” or “I can’t do anything to help her.” but I’m here to tell you that God has gifted us all with ways that we can be a blessing to others in times of distress. Maybe you don’t have anything to say? Don’t try. But I’m sure you can think of something outside of the box that you can do that meet a need that friend may have. They need to eat. They need to clean their house and their car and they don’t have the energy to do any of these things. They need prayer. They need to be in God’s word. They need to know they are thought of and need to be encouraged by God’s word. You can send your friend an encouraging card. You can take them to lunch.
May we seek the Lord and His wisdom in how we can bind up our brothers and sisters in Christ and carry them to the feet of Jesus for He is able!