Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We All Need Friends Who Will Raise the Roof

     Do you have friends that would do anything for you?  Is there anything you wouldn't do for them?
I was reading about the paralyzed man who was lowered into the house by his four friends. 
     It really got me thinking about these guys, cause we hear a lot about women and their girlfriends, but in this scenario we have these four scruffy men coming home from work and like always, stopping by to see "Joe", who maybe was hurt on the job years ago. Regardless of how he became paralyzed or how long he had been that way these men cared about their friend. On the way to Joe’s house one of them might have asked, “Hey, have ya’ll seen or heard about that healing dude?”

     "Yeah. My sister-in-law went to see him but He said He couldn’t help her face.”
     Guffaws. Back-slaps. Its what men do.
     “I think we oughta take Joe to see him.”

     “You think?”

     “Sure. Why not? My wife’s making fish loaf again so I’m in no hurry. How about you fellas?”

     “Do you think he’ll be up to it?

     “Joe? We won’t give him a chance to argue. We’ll take him out for air like we always do and just happen to wander over to where he’s staying.”

     So they meander over to Joe’s house who is in his usual place, on the mat, on the floor. The guys set their lunch pails down. Joe hollers to his wife who is outside sweeping dirt, that he’s going out with the boys and will be back in time for supper.  They each pick up a corner and begin strolling down the lane, looking to find Jesus. Joe finally speaks up.

     “So guys, ya’ll are kinda quiet today. Old man Jedekiah give you a hard time?”   No one answers.

     “Um, fellas? Cat got your tongues?”

     They notice a crowd up ahead. They seem to be pouring out the front door and overflowing all over the front yard. Joe hears the commotion.

     “What’s going on guys? Is it a riot?”

     One of them named…"Lou"…speaks up.

     “Well Joe. We sorta have a surprise for you. This fella, Jesus, is a healer. Not a phony like those other clowns we used to see. This guy claims His power is from Jehovah and well…we believe Him.”

     “Oh guys,” answers Joe. “I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but we’ve been through this so many times. Why in the world do you think this guy would be any different? Just take me home. Its getting warm out here.”

     “No, Joe. We’re here now. Let’s just go in and see him.”

     “There’s gotta be a hundred people trying to get in there! I’ll have a heat stroke while I’m waiting and worse than that, Marta will kill me if I’m late for supper. Frankly, that wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”

     “We’ll think of something.” They all look around.

     “I’m serious, guys. Take me home. Now.”   Lou glances upward and nods his head at the others, directing their attention to the roof.

     They leave Joe on the ground and huddle away from him as they make their plan. Joe keeps insisting he wants to go home, then demands to know what they are plotting, on and on. One of the friends turns to Joe and says, “Sometimes I wish your tongue was paralyzed.” They laugh. Guy humor.

     So these burly men, who apparently would give the shirts off their backs, break all the rules to get their friend some relief. They vandalize a neighbor’s home, break in front of the line, demand the Lord’s attention and they get it.
     And I believe Jesus laughed. I think its not recorded when Jesus laughed because He did it so often! The writers of the Bible, particularly those who knew Him personally didn’t think it necessary to say “Jesus laughed” - of course He did!      Jesus is possibly holding the hand of a sick child or smearing mud on a blind man when straw and bits of clay begin raining down on him from the roof. He looks up and then looks at his host who shrugs his shoulders and says, “I thought we got that fixed.” Jesus can’t see what’s going on because the sunlight is pouring through the hole in the roof, but it disappears as a dark form begins hovering overhead. He hears a voice.

     “Okay, fellas! Joke’s over. This is ridiculous. You’ve gone too far. Josiah will never speak to me again for destroying his roof. Hi, Josiah, this wasn’t my idea.”

     As this figure descends in front of Jesus head up, head down, head up, head down, He looks up and sees four men each holding a rope that is attached to a corner of the mat trying desperately to keep their friend from sliding off right onto the floor. The crowd who had once grown quiet when the straw came through, is now madder than hornets. And Jesus laughed.

     Maybe even guffawed…it’s a guy thing. He waved up at the friends and gave them a thumbs up or high five or some cultural equivalent as if to say, “Nice work!” He looked down at the paralyzed man and with a knowing smile and said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

     Joe, or whatever his name was, looked up at his friends with a quizzical look but they smiled and nodded at him and one another. “Oh, yeah…this guy’s the Real Thing.”

     Jesus’ smile suddenly vanished. Joe couldn’t see who He was looking at but it wasn’t him.

     “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier to say to this man ‘your sins are forgiven’ or ‘get up and walk’?” His smile returned as he looked up at the men staring down through the roof. “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He grinned at Joe. Not only was his face smiling but his eyes as well. “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Joe didn’t hesitate. The Word specifically says he got up, got his mat and walked out in front of them all.
     What the Word doesn’t say is what happened to the friends. I’m thinking two fell through the roof, landed in front of Jesus, who was laughing again, while the other two lost their balance, slid off the roof, landed on a crippled lamb who was brought by a child to be healed. “Sorry, kid…Here, see, he’s fine. Look at him go! The sheep is catching up with Joe. Hey, look, kid!”

     Anyway, they body slammed, back (and booty) slapped, pretty much moved as one unit as they headed back to Joe’s place, laughing and guffawing the whole way. The four friends spied outside while Joe sauntered in the door and cried out, “Honey, I’m home!” Marta fainted.

      I was struggling recently and frankly tired of fighting temptation.  Father said, “Ask your friends to pray.”

     “Ask for prayer. Let your friends present you to Christ as the four men did.”

     So I sent a brief text that simply said, “Please pray for me.” I receive these messages all the time and I honor the request, why wouldn’t mine be honored? No one asked why I needed prayer or said they were too busy. They simply responded back, “I’m praying for you now” and “OK”, which sometimes bothers me but this time was a great relief. And like the man who immediately got up and took his mat, I knew immediately what I should do. My way was clear, my day was ordered. I was empowered and the enemy was gone! I read back over my entry and imagined the guys falling through the roof, possibly landing on top of the Son of Man and I guffawed. Guess it’s not just a man thing.


  1. Love your imagination with this one. Made me a little misty-eyed. :)

  2. Jesus is the real thing.

    And, girl, so are you!

    Love this post.

    Sweet dreams.


"Thank you, and do come back now, ya heah?"
(No she didn't...yes she did.)