November 26, 2021
Who is Carrying Your Stretcher?
When they could not find a way to do this [lay their paralyzed friend at Jesus’ feet] because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus (Luke 5:19 NIV note added).
Friend to Friend
I sat, stunned and exhausted.
It had been a long night, but I had an inkling this was only the beginning of what was to come.
It all started one Saturday night when my husband and I finished the chores around our mountain home: chopping wood, cleaning out the chicken coop, watering the garden, and making dinner.
Just as we were getting settled in with some popcorn and a movie, my husband Roger noticed the sound of planes and helicopters overhead. We thought it strange how low they were flying, and how many were in the area at the same time.
We quickly realized that the California fire was way too close for comfort. And that is when we jumped into action.
Roger sprayed fire retardant around our property and drove up to the top of the hill to assess the situation. He ran into someone from the fire department and asked if we should stay or go. The firefighter said, “You know, you’ll never regret leaving.”
Roger took the chickens to a friend’s and I took the dog and cat to my mom’s, where Roger met us after midnight.
When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t do anything but sit there. I wasn’t panicked. I wasn’t distraught. But I couldn’t concentrate on anything enough to move forward with work, with plans, with anything. All I could do was keep checking social media and the fire maps to see how close the fire was to our home.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, at least you could pray.”
Can I be honest with you, friend? I couldn’t even settle my heart and my mind enough to pray.
Have you ever been in that place where you couldn’t even string the words together? Where you couldn’t even approach God because it was too heavy?
That is when I called in the reinforcements.
First, I contacted my small group of friends, then sent an SOS out to my big group.
And then I posted on social media.
I couldn’t move forward, but I could ask others to carry me in the moment.
It reminds me of the story of Jesus and the paralytic:
One day Jesus was teaching, and the Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. People had come from Jerusalem and from every village of Galilee and Judea, and the power of the Lord was present for Him to heal the sick.
Just then some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They tried to bring him inside to set him before Jesus, but they could not find a way through the crowd. So they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
Like me, the paralytic was not able to get before Jesus on his own.
His reason was his legs.
My reason was my heart.
Regardless, for both of us, it was our friends who carried us to the feet of Jesus.
I think so often, we feel completely ashamed that our first response isn’t prayer, it’s paralysis. We are so frozen in our anxiety that we can’t even pray.
That is when it’s time to be real and raw with the people around you, those who love you and know your heart. To let them know you can’t get there on your own. You need their help, their support, their prayers. You need them, at this moment, to carry you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for knowing the depths of my pain, even when anxiety overrides my words. Thank You for knowing what I need when I don’t know how to form the utterances of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Who is the person in your life who won’t judge you for your very real reactions and needs in your hardest times?
Who are you that person for?
Click on the comment button and share your thoughts.
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