When You Need a Stretcher and Good Friends

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Do you ever feel like your faith is a bit fragile and like you need to lean into the faith of your friends? I’m guessing we’ve all felt that way at one time or another.

This past week I’ve been enjoying the story found in Luke 5:17-26. Jesus was teaching in a home and many people gathered to hear Him speak. In fact, they came from all over: Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. It was a packed house. But there were a group of friends who were loyal and determined to get their friend in front of Jesus. Their friend was paralyzed, which I find very intriguing. 

At the time of Jesus those with special needs, the blind, the lame, the paralyzed, or those with leprosy were considered outcasts. I’m intrigued that this man had such a committed group of close friends even though he was paralyzed. It’s made me wonder, what was it about him that drew others to him in friendship? Was he a good listener? Did he entertain his friends with jokes? Was he someone good at affirming his friends? We don’t really know. All we know is that this particular paralyzed man had a group of close friends who cared deeply about him. So, they carried him to meet Jesus. 

However, when they arrived, there was absolutely no room to bring him in the house. But they were a determined group and they carried their friend to the roof. Roofs at the time of Jesus were made of wood, mud, and rocks. These friends started digging and created a hole large enough to lower the man on the stretcher right in front of Jesus! 

Imagine with me. The people listening to Jesus were likely wondering about the noises from the roof. They might have been hit with rocks and mud on their heads as the roof broke apart!

Jesus, however, was impressed with the dedication of the friends, and He told the man on the stretcher that his sins were forgiven. However, He didn’t stop there. Instead, knowing that the Pharisees who were listening might get their boxers in a twist, Jesus went on to tell the man on the stretcher to get up and walk. Immediately the man who had been paralyzed jumped up and began to walk. 

His friends were elated and went home praising God. 

There are so many different lessons I could draw from this one story, however, the point I want to make is that we need a community of closely committed friends who will support us even when we feel paralyzed.  However, to find those friends, we need to be a good friend. What does that look like? 

Good friends are humble. They don’t try to present themselves as “the expert.” Instead, they are willing to listen to the ideas of others. 

Good friends show empathy. They make the effort to offer understanding to others and to validate their friend’s feelings. 

Good friends are loyal. They stay committed to the friendship through the good times and the bad. 

Good friends take initiative. They create the time and come up with a plan to be with their friends.  

Good friends carry their friends to Jesus in prayer. They make it a point to stay tuned in so that they can pray intelligently.

As you think about these traits, spend a few quiet moments reflecting. What type of friend are you to others? Do they know they can count on you to show up humble, offer empathy, be loyal, take initiative, and carry them to Jesus in prayer?

Lord Jesus, thank you for my friends. Forgive me for the times when I’ve become too busy to be there for my friends. Help me to be the type of friend that loves others well and is willing to sacrifice to carry them to Jesus, I pray.

Hey, if you’re wanting to gather with some girlfriends this summer to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ and more connected to your friends, I’ve got just the resource for you! Rooted Joy can be used for a friends retreat or as a short four-week Bible study. There are also FREE downloadable short videos that go with the material. You can download those here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/rootedjoy

This week on The Connected Mom Podcast we’re talking about Peaceful Discipline with author Sarah Moore. Join us and be encouraged. And hey, share the podcast with a friend!

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