Do you have a circle of 2:00 AM friends? The ones that you could call if you were in a jam in the middle of the night? The ones that would crawl out of bed amid the darkness to come help you? The kind that would tear a hole in a roof for you?
I’m about to share a story that, even if you don’t practice the same faith I do, will provide you with four powerful takeaways. They are powerful lessons regardless of where you’re coming from today…
Let me paint a picture, paraphrasing from Mark 2 in the Bible. Jesus is teaching inside of a house and it is packed with people. Down the street, there is a man who is paralyzed and spends his days lying on a mat. This man has four friends, and those friends hear that Jesus is in the vicinity. Their faith is intense. These four men believe that if they can get their friend to Jesus, Jesus can heal him.
The house is already filled with people, and there’s no way to get their paralyzed friend inside. It’s too crowded. Fortunately for the paralyzed man, his four friends are crazy, as we’ll soon discover. With no access to the front door, they pick up their paralyzed friend and proceed to carry him together to the roof of the house Jesus is inside. Then, from the rooftop, they tear through the ceiling, creating a big enough hole to pass their friend through. The paralyzed man is lowered inside, and Jesus proceeds to heal him and extend forgiveness to him.
Here are four quick takeaways from this story…
Some days, you’re the one on the mat. You’re the one who feels paralyzed or stuck. You’re the one who needs some healing and hope. You’re the one who can’t move on your own, and you need someone to carry you. We’ve all been there. We’ve all been that paralyzed man on the mat who is in desperate need of friends who care enough to do crazy things to help us – even if that means going through the roof.
Other days, you’re carrying your friend up to the roof. We’re the ones that need to show up to help our friends. The older I get, the more I’ve realized that being in this role is a privilege. Being the one who digs claws through the roof and shows up for a friend when they need us most is amazing. The paralyzed man’s friends could have told him they were too busy, too tired, or booked up. Instead, they showed up. They carried their friend up to the rooftop. Then, they proceeded to dig, scrape, and fight for their friend when he couldn’t fight for himself. To be those four men would have been an honor. It made such a big enough difference that we’re still talking about this centuries later.
Some days, we need to say “no” to giving up. It would have been easy for the paralyzed man’s friends to look at the crowd that had filled the house and see no options. It would have been easy for them to turn around and go home. But, instead, they didn’t go home, and they didn’t give up. Not getting their friend in front of Jesus was not an option – and at least one crazy man in the group saw another option up on the roof, which leads us to my last point…
Other days, we need to create doors where they don’t already exist. The front door wasn’t an option, and neither was giving up. Too often in life, we only see one alternative for getting where we want to go, and often it’s the easy and safe option everyone else takes. These four men didn’t stop in this story when the easy and safe option was no longer available. Instead, they moved on and created a door where there was no door to begin with. They dug a hole through a roof! Imagine being inside the house and hearing the noise above you, then seeing the sunlight stream inside. There was nothing easy or safe about this – but it was the only way they were going to get their friend to Jesus. They prevailed because they thought outside the box, or should I say, outside the door.
Today, I want you to look at yourself in two ways – first as the man on the mat, and second as one of the four friends. No matter which one of these roles feels the most in line with where you’re at today, I hope this story inspires you to humbly let others help you when you need it, to be the friend who shows up for someone else, and to keep going when all the options look like they’re gone.
Ready for more?
Follow me here for more insights like this one, weekly encouragement, and inspiration to help you go deeper in what really matters. You can also listen in on the Grit Meets Growth podcast that I share with Chris Cathers. It’s available here or on your favorite podcast platforms. – John