by Sarah Beckman
I love the story in Luke 5 about the four friends and the paralytic man. Desperate to get their friend help, they attempted to take him to the man who was reported to bring healing. There was no room to get into the house the proper way because the crowds were so large, but they wouldn’t take no for an answer. Their friend was too important for them to give up that easily. So to get him to Jesus, they dug a hole in the roof and lowered him down from above into the middle of the crowd.
It’s reported that their faith alone was grounds for Jesus to offer healing to the paralytic man. They moved heaven (and a tile roof) to get their friend what he needed.
That’s what I call a true friend. Friends that will walk with me when I feel paralyzed. Friends who carry us when we feel like we can’t make it on our own. I want friends that I trust enough to lower me down into what may feel like a chaotic jungle, but really is a haven of peace.
The four men who carried the paralytic man all the way to the throne of grace and mercy are the best kind of friend. Traveling buddies, or people who have your back no matter what you’re facing.
I’ve seen traveling buddies come to the rescue of many a friend in need. Friends who drop everything to watch children while you go to the doctor or get treatment. Neighbors who care for your house, shovel your driveway, mow your grass or take out your garbage when you’re too sick or too sad to leave the house. Co-workers who carry the extra load when you have to miss work. Family who do your laundry, clean your house, buy your groceries or sit quietly next to your bed keeping you company while you recover.
Have you ever been in a tough spot and needed the help of a friend? Do you resonate with any of these situations where a traveling buddy saved the day?
A Few Trusted Buddies
When my kids were young and I was a new Christian, I experienced a time of profound struggle. Nowadays, we call it having “an emotional affair,” but then I just knew it as a time when I struggled with sin I didn’t know how to break free from.
It was a one-sided thing, this emotional relationship that I fantasized about in my head. The man on the other side had no idea. And neither did my husband.
I prayed for God to take away my thoughts about him. I knew in my heart I didn’t want to follow through with any of it, but my mind was relentless. Day after day, the mental battle grew, and day after day I prayed for God to forgive me, free me, and remove this temptation from my life.
After months of agony, my guilt created a growing chasm with my spouse, and I knew I had to do something. I finally mustered the courage to share my struggle with some trusted traveling buddies. And they guided me toward truth and hope. They talked to me about how I was a new creation in Christ, that my former self (the one who would have followed through on the affair part, instead of just thinking about it) was gone. That I wasn’t defined by being that girl, anymore.
And after counsel and prayer, they encouraged me to approach my husband and come clean.
It was one of the most difficult situations I have ever faced. I was terrified he’d leave me. But my traveling buddies emboldened me, and I knew I had to follow through or risk falling prey to the misdeeds of my thought life.
When I told my husband, he was the picture of grace and forgiveness. He said the same thing my friends said to me, which is that I wasn’t a slave to the sins of my past and the enemy was trying to get me at my weak spot. He reminded me that he loved me, and he believed the best things about me, and he wasn’t going anywhere.
I shudder to think what might have happened had my friends not ushered me through the roof to get to Jesus. I am forever grateful they loved me enough to show me the way to truth, repentance, forgiveness and the grace of Jesus. And they helped me find hope in the middle of the hardest place I thought I would ever face.
Sarah Beckman is a national speaker and author. Her second book, Hope in the Hard Places helps people walk through struggles with tangible help, biblical truth, and a heavy dose of hope. For more information on her books, speaking, or blog visit http://www.sarahbeckman.org
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