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Today’s Truth

When they could not find a way to do this [lay their paralyzed friend at Jesus’ feet] because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus (Luke 5:19 NIV note added).

Friend to Friend

I sat, stunned and exhausted.

It had been a long night, but I had an inkling this was only the beginning of what was to come.

It all started one Saturday night when my husband and I finished the chores around our mountain home: chopping wood, cleaning out the chicken coop, watering the garden, and making dinner.

Just as we were getting settled in with some popcorn and a movie, my husband Roger noticed the sound of planes and helicopters overhead. We thought it strange how low they were flying, and how many were in the area at the same time.

We quickly realized that the California fire was way too close for comfort. And that is when we jumped into action.

Roger sprayed fire retardant around our property and drove up to the top of the hill to assess the situation. He ran into someone from the fire department and asked if we should stay or go. The firefighter said, “You know, you’ll never regret leaving.”

Roger took the chickens to a friend’s and I took the dog and cat to my mom’s, where Roger met us after midnight.

When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t do anything but sit there. I wasn’t panicked. I wasn’t distraught. But I couldn’t concentrate on anything enough to move forward with work, with plans, with anything. All I could do was keep checking social media and the fire maps to see how close the fire was to our home.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, at least you could pray.”

Can I be honest with you, friend? I couldn’t even settle my heart and my mind enough to pray.

Have you ever been in that place where you couldn’t even string the words together? Where you couldn’t even approach God because it was too heavy?

That is when I called in the reinforcements.

First, I contacted my small group of friends, then sent an SOS out to my big group.

And then I posted on social media.

I couldn’t move forward, but I could ask others to carry me in the moment.

It reminds me of the story of Jesus and the paralytic:

One day Jesus was teaching, and the Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. People had come from Jerusalem and from every village of Galilee and Judea, and the power of the Lord was present for Him to heal the sick.

Just then some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They tried to bring him inside to set him before Jesus,but they could not find a way through the crowd. So they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:17-20 NIV).

Like me, the paralytic was not able to get before Jesus on his own.

His reason was his legs.

My reason was my heart.

Regardless, for both of us, it was our friends who carried us to the feet of Jesus.

I think so often, we feel completely ashamed that our first response isn’t prayer, it’s paralysis. We are so frozen in our anxiety that we can’t even pray.

That is when it’s time to be real and raw with the people around you, those who love you and know your heart. To let them know you can’t get there on your own. You need their help, their support, their prayers. You need them, at this moment, to carry you.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for knowing the depths of my pain, even when anxiety overrides my words. Thank You for knowing what I need when I don’t know how to form the utterances of my heart.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Who is the person in your life who won’t judge you for your very real reactions and needs in your hardest times?
Who are you that person for?
Click on the comment button and share your thoughts.

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© 2021 by Kathi Lipp. All rights reserved.

 

9 Responses to “Who is Carrying Your Stretcher?”

  1. Vanessa says:

    Dear God,
    Thank you for friends who can and will carry me to You during times when I can’t get there myself. And thank you for Kathi and her willingness to be real about those times in all our lives. It is reassuring to remember that our burdens do not have to be carried alone.
    Amen

  2. Carol says:

    Thanks you, Kathi for this writing.
    I’ve been in those moments of anxiety where prayer just doesn’t happen. The “evil one” makes sure we get tongue tied.
    This Bible refer. is a prefect example of the situation being brought before the Lord. (I’ve made a sticky-note msg. for myself: “when you are too paralyzed to pray: call in your prayer warriors to carry you to the feet of Jesus!”)
    Thanks for this blessing you have given me to day.

  3. Sue says:

    Kathi,
    I just want to say thank you for your vulnerability. I’m originally from northern Cali and got many prayer requests during that time. For me the anxiety comes when my youngest son 26 has yet another misadventure and my hands are tied, That’s when I press into action asking for prayer because my anxiety over takes me.
    I have to ask, did your home make it? Sorry I’m a have to know how the story ends person.

  4. Kathi Lipp says:

    Carol, thank you. And I love your sticky note!

  5. Denise says:

    I didn’t want to say it out loud, I kept thinking that if i did, it would be true, I desperately needed it to not be true. My husband has been asking all the right questions for weeks now and me, well I just avoided answering. Finally yesterday I could no longer carry this burden alone, I shared with him that depression has reared its ugly head again. By nature he is a fixer, but he sat quietly as I cried and poured my heart out. When I was done, he prayed for me, he then asked if I had told anyone else because he felt that it was important for me to try not to overcome this alone; he said “if you can’t, I can”. In his prayer I remember hearing Him telling the Lord to remind me that He was already at work on this situation and to remind me that He is with me. Yesterday on the day of gratitude, I was even more grateful than normal for the love of the men in my life.

  6. Jan says:

    After 57 yrs. my husband went to be with the Lord 8 Months ago. This being the first holiday I have been w/o him, high school sweethearts, a long wonderful life together. I’m so thankful to be living around a group of close “Girl friends” who are also going through this season of life. Thank You Lord for providing them and giving us all the Comfort and Peace when we call your name. Our Faithful Father

  7. Diane says:

    Regardless of the coast I’ve lived on, east and west, several of my bible study women are my safe peeps.Today I have my local ladies and I can still call upon those 3000 miles away. Our ethnicities, SES, professions, backgrounds, political stances, and martial status range from one end to the other. Regardless, we are bonded through Jesus. Only He can enable us to bypass the divisions of this world, forfeit judgement, and embrace our diversity in love. I’m most thankful for each of these women. I pray my actions place me in their safety zones as well.

  8. Francyne says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story it’s very inspiring. I’m going through some things reading your story and the others too have given me comfort. I hope you didn’t lose your home. Thank you Lird for having me read on.

  9. Bernadette says:

    I used to feel that I was burdening my friends with my problems but I came to realise that is what brothers and sisters in Christ are for. When my heart and mind are full and the words cannot leave my mouth, I can reach out to my support group.

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