Faith For A Lift

Shawn Craig | March 16, 2015

Faith For A Lift

will-carry-on-your-bag_thumbThen behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (Matthew 9:2 ESV)

 If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you’ve gotten the speech: “Pack light because whatever you pack will be your responsibility.” After a few days in a strange place, lugging around too much stuff you really didn’t need to bring, you understood the warning a lot better. Those who failed to heed the warning before the trip are dragging behind and can’t keep up. And then inevitably one of the group twists an ankle or hurts their back. This is when you find out who your friends are and who is the most Christ-like servant! Will someone step up and help carry the load of the wounded?

In the scene that takes place in Matthew 9, this man can’t carry his own load. Paralyzed, he is completely dependent on the care of family and friends. They must have been good friends because they bring him to Jesus. They picked him up and took him where he couldn’t go by himself.

But even greater than a physical act of love, these friends or family members brought something else along with them that isn’t noticed if you read too fast. Did you notice what Jesus saw?

Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (Matthew 9:2 ESV) 

Not only did they carry their friend where he couldn’t go, they brought faith along too. It wasn’t the paralyzed man’s faith that Jesus noticed. It was the faith of those who carried him. Perhaps this paralyzed man couldn’t talk. Or perhaps after years of suffering, his faith had evaporated. How many doctors had he been to? How many home remedies had he tried to no avail? Was he once a God-fearing man with vibrant faith before some tragic fall or accident? Whatever the case, he had some friends or family that loved him enough to carry him to Jesus and bring their faith along with them.

I’ve had those moments in my life. Sometimes meeting with elders in our church, after several battles, seasons of waiting, or wilderness experiences, my faith has faltered: Maybe God doesn’t want to do this for us. As we prayed together and looked for answers regarding expansion or the purchase of property, I’ve experienced both the courage of rising faith and the disappointment of seemingly unanswered prayer. I can tell you this: in those seasons, I don’t know how I would have survived without faithful brothers or sisters in Christ who have said, “I have enough faith for both of us.” And I was carried on their shoulders of faith until my hope was restored.

So here are a couple of questions:

  • How long has it been since you carried someone who needs a lift in their faith? I know we’re quick to think about how often we’ve needed that lift. But how conscious are you about friends or family around you who need encouragement, who need to know that you are carrying them to Jesus?
  • Do you have friends like this man? Who care enough to carry you to Jesus, who will fight for you in prayer and lift you with their faith? Friendships like this take time, effort, and transparency. Are you willing for that to happen? To let someone know about your wilderness, your waning faith, or your discouragement?

PRAYER: Father, it was Your Son who said He would build a church that would prevail against hell. You have given me the gift of community in the fellowship of the believers. Thank you for the church, the gathering of the faithful. Help me to do my part to lift others up when they need it, and also never be too proud to share my own burdens so I can be carried on the shoulders of faithful friends when I need it.

Shawn Craig
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