In the second chapter of Mark, there is a precious story about a group of five friends. One of the friends is paralyzed which meant he was extremely limited or even unable to do things for himself. This meant he was at the mercy of others and had no choice but to rely on his family or friends.
Oh the excitement these friends must have felt when they heard that Jesus was in Capernaum. Their paralyzed friend could be healed! However, there was a problem. Under the circumstances, it was impossible for the paralyzed man to get up and go to Jesus. He undoubtedly wanted nothing more than to be where Jesus was but he couldn't get there. He did not have the ability to do so. Oh, but his friends did! They had something their friend lacked. They had the ability to go to where Jesus was and so, they picked up his bed and carried him to where Jesus was.
Upon their arrival, they encountered a problem. A very big problem. The crowd was too bit. At this point, many people would have given up and gone back home. They would have told their friend that they tried and perhaps they could try to see Jesus another time. They had done everything they could... or had they?
Oh, how these men must have loved their friend. They refused to give up! Only Jesus could help their friend and they were going to carry their friend to Jesus... no matter what! I love the persistence of these men! How they must have loved their friend. They loved him enough to lift him up onto the roof and actually make an opening in it. (Mark 2:4) Just try to imagine the scene for an instant. Do you have friends who would do that for you and even more importantly, would you do that for them?
In verse five it says that when Jesus saw their faith he told the man that his sins were forgiven and the man was healed. As I read this account I thought about the physical afflictions I have faced over the past couple of years. There have been times when it seemed like I was unable to pray because I was too sick, too tired or both. I find myself daily thanking God for the faithful friends who came up along side me, picked me up and carried me before God. They absolutely refused to leave me there lying in the middle of the road. They absolutely refused to leave me to try to fend for myself. Instead, they lifted me up and stubbornly carried me to Jesus.
I am so thankful that I have friends who refuse to leave me behind and I pray that I in turn will also be that kind of friend. To all my friends here who have carried me, thank you!