The Outcast: The Paralytic and His Friends

Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man. Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking. When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralyzed man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” – Mark 2:3-5

Reading this account in Mark’s Gospel concerning this sick man, his friends, and Jesus -our Healer and Savior, we all can relate on some level. These men were not only friends. They were good friends who were determined, which is evident, as they brought this man to Jesus. Do we bring our friends to Jesus? We all have friends who are going through hard times on some level. How can we be there for them? These men genuinely cared and would do anything and go anywhere for this man/ These friends were not brought down by this man’s paralyzed body, but they were spurred on. They knew their friend needed them, and stayed there for him…

For whatever reason, these friends did not leave his side. They were the kind of friends who would go above and beyond what many others would do for him, and were really there for him. Today, how can we become these kinds of friends?

  • Stay connected to them (aware of their struggles, needs, upcoming doctor appointments, or tests, etc).
  • Be in prayer for them.Have a short visit with them (if they are up for it).
  • Send them a facebook message. It is easy to allow not knowing what to say, to prevent us from saying anything at all. Here are some ideas  on what you can say:
    • “How are you feeling today?”
    • “Thinking of you.”
    • “I am praying for you.”
    • “I am going to the store. Can I bring you anything?”
  • Volunteer to bring their family dinner (it helps!).
  • Send a small note in the mail (everyone loves getting mail).

All of us are someone’s friend. We would consider ourselves a good friend to some,but an acquaintance of others. But with God’s help, we can aspire to be a better friend. A friend like these men were. Trusting that God can help us to be a better friend.

This Week: Be in prayer, and consider how you can be there for the sick in you know.

See Hebrews 10:24

How Did I Get From There to Here?

I am missing a great group of friends tonight. Friends I had the privilege of serving with. It was only for a year, but seems much longer. That happens when you serve with a  certain group multiple days in a week’s time, and they were part of your core group of Christ-centered friends. For a while anyway. Up to listening to part of my story? Here it goes (now is the time to return to whatever you were doing if you aren’t up to listening):

I was involved in a great Christian Leadership and Ministry program at Fresno Pacific University (God knows how much I cherished my classmates and professors). Part of the program is an internship. I found myself needing to immerse somewhere. I needed a place where I could get more “hours” to pass my class. On my bus route at the time, I had heard about this non-profit. Thought about going to seeing about volunteering. For whatever reason, I didn’t follow that urgency… until I came to a frantic place where I needed to get more hours (God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?). This place of wonderful people, they ministered more to me than I do to others. I got sick. I barely finished my hours, to finish the program.

Toward the end of my final semester, I got really sick. It was by God’s grace I kept volunteering and finished my degree – barely got my hours in. Then after Christmas break, I returned to volunteer and my body couldn’t keep up. People must have wondered if I dropped off the planet. I miss them terribly. I wish my body would let me serve like I used to, in that special place.

There, I was God’s hands and feet (we served the community providing food, clothing, and prayer support). Here, I am mainly God’s hands. I write. This is my most homey place of serving. Some days, it can’t compare to what I did there (or the high-ish feeling it gave)… And this is the only thing I have comparable to there. I wish I could serve there again. I wish my body would just let me. I have to hold onto my faith and trust staying within the lines of my limitations is the best for me and others. After all, I need to be loving.

Still Gracefully Overcoming
(Some days just seem easier than others)