August 4, 2008
Stretcher Bearers 
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 NIV).

Friend to Friend
One day Jesus traveled to Capernaum, Peter’s hometown.  The people had heard about how Jesus healed the sick, made the lame to walk, and cast out evil spirits. That evening, so many people came to hear Jesus at Peter’s home they were crowded into every nook and cranny, even overflowing out the door. 

However, Jesus’ voice was not the only thing heard among the crowd. Sounds of hammering, pounding, digging, and scraping mingled with voices.  Jesus suddenly felt clay from the ceiling begin to rain down on his head and sprinkle his lashes.  Dust piled up around his sandaled feet and showered his now powdery cloak.  As Jesus raised his eyes to the ceiling, he discovered a growing opening in the ceiling and four very determined men.

The crowd stared wide-eyed as a man was lowered through the opening in the roof and placed at Jesus’ feet.  Jesus looked down at the paralyzed man lying on the palette before him and simply said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

But wait; is that what the man really longed for? Is that what his friends had in mind? Oh my friend, sometimes it is our sin that paralyzes us.  One of Satan’s most damaging tactics is to paralyze us with our own emotional wounds.  He wants to fill us with shame, weigh us down with guilt, and cripple our progress toward the cross, but Jesus came to set us free!  He tells us to get up and walk!

Another facet of this story sets my heart to singing!  The man’s friends loved him enough to carry him to Jesus.  Sometimes we don’t have the energy to make it to the Healer alone.  How blessed to have friends who will be the stretcher bearers that carry us to the Savior, risk the rebuke of digging a hole in the roof, and are not afraid of getting a bit messy in the process.

Someone once said, “A friend hears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”  A friend can remind me of God’s faithfulness when my memory is clouded by the circumstances of life.

God sometimes uses friends to be our “stretcher bearers”, those willing to carry us through the difficulties of life and set us at the feet of Jesus. At other times, He might call you to be that willing friend for someone else.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, thank You for my girlfriends in God who have helped me through the years.  I pray that I will recognize those in need of a stretcher bearer in her life and that I will willingly take hold to help her along the way.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now it’s Your Turn
Do you have a friend that is emotionally or spiritually paralyzed because of the sins or trauma of her past?  How far are you willing to go to help her?

Are you emotionally or spiritually paralyzed because of the sins or trauma of your past? Are you willing to let someone help you walk again?

What are some ways (other than digging a hole in a roof) that you could help a friend recover from a difficult situation?

More from the Girlfriends
For more on today’s topics see Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding peace and purpose in the hurts of your past by Sharon Jaynes. 

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