One of the things that has been on my mind a lot in the last few weeks is the story from Mark 2 where the 4 men carry their paralyzed friend to Jesus. One day I was overwhelmed with anxiety as we were waiting for the results to the latest round of tests. I felt weepy and I called my friend and told her I needed prayer. I shared all of my worries with her and she prayed for me right then. She also said that she was with a few of our other friends and could ask them to pray too. That was when I first started thinking about the 4 friends. I know prayer is the quickest cure to anxiety. But sometimes my anxiety is so high that I can't seem to think clearly, let alone pray. After I hung up I felt my heart rate slow back to normal and the anxious fluttering in my stomach subside. I needed my friends to carry me to Jesus because at that time I wasn't able to get there on my own.
The other reason that this has been on my mind is because I'm not really that good at letting my friends carry me. I want to be the strong one. I want my friends to be wowed by how faith-filled I am in the face of hard circumstances. I want to be the comforter, not the comforted. I want to be the one reminding someone of truths from scripture, not the one being reminded. Truth is, I hate being needy. But right now, I do need my circle. I was imagining what it would have been like if I was the guy in scripture. I can see myself saying "seriously you guys, I can get to Jesus on my own. You don't need to carry me." And then what? Try to drag myself there even though I actually can't make it alone? Or I can imagine telling them not to mess up the roof to the house because I didn't want to be that much trouble. As I imagine these things I think of how life would have been different for those 4 friends if they hadn't been allowed to carry their friend to Jesus. Those 4 men got to witness a miracle firsthand. They got to be commended by the Son of God for their great faith. They got to be a part of something huge, something eternal.
Maybe these things come to my mind because it makes me feel better to hope that my friends are getting something out of helping me. Maybe it's still the result of my pride that just won't allow me to accept help unless I see it doing something good for someone else. But I know that something big happens when we carry our friends to Jesus. Something bigger than any of us can do on our own. I know that hearts are bonded when we walk through trials with a friend. I know that relationships are deepened when I strip away my defenses enough to admit my needs.
God designed us for relationship and some of us (ahem--you know who you are because I know I'm not the only one) like to think that we're ok on our own; that we do fine doing life and faith and relationships on our own terms. For whatever reason, God won't let me stay in that place of solitude and independence.
So if you're helping someone out, or offering to help out and your friend seems irritated, just know that it's not you. It's just your friend having some rough edges ground off and sometimes that doesn't feel so good. Thanks for the help.