Friends Who Tear Up Roofs For Us

 


There's this story in the Gospel of Mark chapter 2 about a time when Jesus was teaching inside a house, and there were so many people in and around the house it was impossible to get near him. 

There was also a group of friends of a paralyzed man who decided to get their infirm friend to Jesus no matter how big the crowd was.  They believed if they could, Jesus would heal him. 

So they tore open the roof of the house, digging through the dried mud and thatch to create an opening above Jesus, and then lowered their friend down through the hole. 

The Scripture says, "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'"  After a brief dialogue with the religious leaders who took umbrage with Jesus' declaration that he could forgive sins, Jesus healed the man. 

The part of that story that I never really paid all that much attention to is the fact that Jesus chose to heal the man based on the faith of his friends.  Their willingness to trust on behalf of their ill friend was enough to get him healed. 

That whole scene had to be pretty odd and amusing, right?  It would have been impossible to ignore that people were digging through the roof above him.  I'm certain that the people in the crowd were freaking out. 

But apparently, Jesus kept on teaching despite the dust and debris that would have been falling all around him and the noise the digging would have undoubtedly made.  

And what about those friends?  Their love for the paralyzed man was obvious.  They were willing to try anything to help him.  

We have no idea how he felt about their efforts.  We don't know if he protested or went along with it.  We don't know if he was too weak to do much of anything at all.  

All we know is that he got up and walked out of a house with a new skylight, thanks to his buddies who believed he could be healed if they could just get him to Jesus.  

The other day, I read this wonderful line from Bob Goff's Live in Grace, Walk in Love book: 

We need friends who will hope things for us we're too discouraged to dream for ourselves.  We need people who will lower us down through the roof rather than waiting for permission. 

We have all had times when whatever life has thrown at us feels too much to bear.  Maybe we've experienced losing a loved one, the end of a relationship, an illness that sapped us of strength, or we've become overwhelmed with worry. 

We have all had times when we needed to be carried by our friends to healing.  

Those kinds of true and real friends are willing to tear open roofs and do whatever it takes to carry you when you don't have the strength to get up.  

Sometimes, we can be that kind of friend, too.  This is what it means to live and grow in a community.  There are times when the faith of others is what keeps us connected to God, even when we feel like God is far away. 

May we learn to cultivate those kinds of faith-filled friendships and also learn to be that kind of friend when the moment arrives.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all now and forever. Amen. 


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