This past weekend I was supported by friends as I humbly spoke to the male members of a local church at a prayer breakfast and was reminded of how much I was impacted by Mark 2:5. The parable of the paralytic struck me in a way that has never left my consciousness. If you remember, Jesus gave us all a candid perspective on how we should select our friends. "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven.’" The operative words here are their faith. I don’t know why at this particular time all those sermons about choosing your friends wisely, became crystal clear. Can you imagine the strength and power behind individuals who believe in you so strongly, who love the Lord so much, that He heals you because of them? If there was ever a place in the bible that should make you realize that people who love God and you can make a difference in your life, this is it. For all you praying mothers out there, here’s proof that God through Christ is indeed listening.
I know I don’t have to remind some of you about the grief we’ve put those who love us through. I won’t force any of you about the only course of action we left open for them. Putting us in the hands of the Lord (through prayer) was their only alternative because, as the old folks used to say, our heads were so hard that not only did we bruise ourselves, we also made their hearts bleed. I believe I’m here today because the Lord entertained the pleas of others on my behalf. I was too dumb, too young and too spiritually immature to do so for myself. Mark 2:5 lets us know that the people you associate with, the people you hang out with, the family you’re born into can save you from you, even if you don’t believe they can. You see the friends of the paralytic might have given up on him, but they wouldn’t give up on God. These are the kind of folk you should want in your life. I know I want them in mine.
I believe the message here is that while in the midst of your personal storms, you’re infinitely better off if you’ve got some of God’s storm troopers in your entourage. You need a few folk who will break down a few walls, tear up a roof or two and ignore a few rules in the name of God for you. These are the people who will tell you in a heartbeat what you already know. Don’t try to go it alone. You can start your journey by yourself but you will surely need God based help to finish it. The family of believers is just that, a family, your family. Take a look around in your own life and take inventory of your closest friends and relatives. Which ones, if any, would you want pleading your case before the Almighty? Who in your current collection of friends is willing and eager to make a personal appeal to God to save your butt from the insanity you’re currently in, are about to go through even if you don’t know better? More importantly, what kind of friend are you? If your closest friends took the same inventory, how would you stack up? Are you likely to intercede with the Lord on their behalf? When I was younger, riding shotgun was a favored position. For example only, if you’ve got the right kind of friends, everybody knows the ultimate shotgun position is reserved for God. It has to be. At least one person in your group should be so connected to Him that He won’t forsake anybody. I guess I’m trying to point that the idea that the belief of others in the truth of the Lord is so powerful that you might be the beneficiary is mind boggling to me. I am so thankful that I know a few people, who I call friend who see this as the natural way of things. However big or small your circle of friends is, you might want to add or delete some based on their willingness to go to bat for you where your spiritual well being is concerned. After all, theirs just might be the only prayers that get through.
May God bless and keep you always, James