For the life of me, I can't remember what the pastor was teaching because I couldn't stop thinking about the man's friends.
The story is found in both Mark 2:4 and Luke 5:17
Here are the verses from Luke...
17 One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea andfrom Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.
18 And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him.
19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.
20 Seeing their faith, He said, " Friend, your sins are forgiven you."
21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"
22 But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins have been forgiven you,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?
24 But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,"—He said to the paralytic—"I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home."
25 Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God.
26 They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen remarkable things today."
Think with me about these friends for a minute.
How they must have loved this man! They heard that the Healer was home and they were trying desperately to get their paralyzed friend inside so they could lay him at the very feet of Jesus!
But they were shut out.
Standing room only would be an understatement for this story.
That didn't stop this man's friends, though.
Instead they climbed up on the roof, and Mark tells us that they had to remove the roof and dig an opening in it so that they could lower their friend down to Jesus.
Can you even begin to imagine?!
They had to get up there first.
Then they had to get him up there, stretcher and all.
Then remove the roof,
then dig the hole,
then finally lower the pallet upon which he was laying paralyzed,
all. the. way. down. without dropping him.
See why I've never been able to forget the friends?!
Friends like these are often few and far between.
They're the ones that you hold so closely that your hearts are laced together as Jonathan and Davids' were.
I am so awesomely and amazingly blessed to have a friend like this. In truth, I have a few.
But this one..."my Jan" as I call her, is so much more than a friend to me.
She's my Nathan.
She's my sister.
She's my Hur.
Nathan because she speaks truth to me in a way that always hits the nail on the head, and she does it so lovingly in the power of the Holy Spirit...but I am always changed by what she says...changed in a way that matures me as a follower of Jesus and draws me deeper into relationship with Him.
My sister because she truly means that much to me...having the same blood running through our veins couldn't make her any more dear to me than she already is.
Scripturally misguided are those who tell us that friends are not family.
Another of my precious sisters puts it this way,
"We have our physical families, and we have our spiritual family that God gives us in Christ."
Perfectly said. The Apostle Paul would agree
whole-heartedly, as he always referred to Timothy as his true child in the faith and as his son.
Often times, our spiritual family is more family to us than the ones we were born into.
How gracious God is to give us the body of Christ!
And Jan is my Hur because she prays for me, and lifts my "arms" when I'm weary, and encourages me with the washing of the water of the Word.
I would lay my life down for her without pausing to think about it for a second.
She is also one of the most faithful servants of the Lord that I've ever known, in addition to being one of the best Precept leaders I've ever had the sheer gift of learning from!
The last 5 years or so have been incredibly hard for my dear friend, on countless levels.
She moved from California to Arizona because they discovered that her health had been badly compromised by mold, and were told that the air in Arizona would be better for her.
In Arizona, she contracted a very rare virus called Valley Fever and has been incredibly sick from it.
Her body is frail and has been through the ringer from chemotherapy treatments.
We thought she was doing better, but this week she received news that the spot on her lungs has grown drastically.
"Oh God, not my Jan. Not again. Please Father, not again."
Would you please, please, please pray with me for Jan?
This week she and her family will be moving cross country, from California to Corpus Christie, Texas.
Please pray that she will be given abundant grace for the drive.
Please pray that the Lord will direct her right to the doctors that she needs and that she'll be able to quickly get the care/surgery/medicines that will help her.
Please pray for the Lord to heal her completely.
Please pray for her family.
Please pray that she will connect quickly with others in Corpus Christie who will help and serve her.
Please pray, as would be her request, that God is glorified in and through every bit of this trial.
Oh that the Lord would see the faith of her friends and choose to heal her!
I don't think for a minute that this disease is about sin in her life, so please don't read that into my story just because that happened to be the case with the man in the Bible.
Jesus forgave that man's sin in order to demonstrate his divinity to the scribes and Pharisees. Period.
I don't profess to know why God is allowing this to happen to my precious friend.
But neither of us doubt
that God has a plan,
that God is just,
that God is love, and
that God is good.
Even in the bad, God is good.
I know that many of you have prayer chains at your churches and within your Bible study groups.
Would you please add my Jan to them?
If she were the only friend I had in my life, I would consider myself one of the most blessed people to have ever lived. How gracious God is, that He has given me others as well.
Many of you are some of those friends, so I plead with you to help me remove the roof and dig the hole and lower her pallet before the feet of our Lord, through prayer.
I will be forever grateful.
I love you Jan. So, so much!
And I love you reader, thank you for praying...