Straight from a Carried Heart
By Lisa Elliot
Lately, a well-known Bible story has taken up residency in my heart. It’s found in Mark 2:1-5 (NIV) which says:
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
There are a few things that strike my heart as I read this story. To begin with, it strikes me that it was not the paralytic who sought out Jesus’s help. Rather, it was the paralytic’s friends who saw their friend’s need and brought him to Jesus. Secondly, they didn’t let anyone or anything stop them! In their determination, they even did some house renovations to accomplish the task and care for their friend by laying him at Jesus’s feet. Finally, and interestingly enough, when Jesus saw their faith, he healed him. In other words, the paralytic did nothing to create the scene except put his trust in his friends and ultimately allow Jesus to do the work only He could do.
Have you ever had the experience of being carried to Jesus? That is, have you gone through a time in your life when you’ve not had the strength to go to Jesus for yourself, physically, emotionally or spiritually? I have. There is no other way to describe it than feeling protected, cushioned, insulated—carried, indeed.
Too sick to even be concerned for myself, others around me bore my concern. Too unaware of how sick I was, others’ awareness was heightened. For instance, my husband, David, was at my beck and call. He held all of his plans loosely as he kept a watchful eye on me—cancelling meetings, postponing engagements, making plans around whatever happened to be going on with me in the moment. Keeping a prayer vigil while I slept—praying prayers I was too weary to pray.
My oldest daughter, Natalie, living in another province kept watch over me via regular Skype calls. Thinking ahead in ways my brain couldn’t grasp, thinking thoughts before I could think them for myself. She researched things online to keep tabs on what we may be up against. She kept her eye on flights and made necessary preparations in the case that she’d have to drop everything and come to be with me.
My son, Jacob, not in another province, but too far away to be physically present, was very evidently present through prayer and a heartfelt, quiet understanding, feeling things that gave me permission to feel what I was feeling and validating thoughts, fears, and emotions with a sweet assurance of his prayerful support and care.
My youngest daughter, Erin, bore the self-imposed, Spirit-guided weight of the responsibility. Meeting needs I wasn’t aware I had need of. She carried me around day and night, providing head massages to ease my pounding headache, checked in on me regularly throughout her workdays, and made arrangements with her workplace such that she would be free to leave at a moment’s notice.
It’s no wonder I didn’t have a care in the world; they were all resting on everyone else’s shoulders! Each one picked up their corner of the stretcher and carried me to Jesus.
I’m so thankful that Jesus lays our burdens on the hearts and minds of others so that we can fulfill our biblical mandate recorded in Galatians 6:2 to bear one another’s burdens. Furthermore, I’m thankful that He takes it upon Himself to bear our weariness and heavy burdens in exchange for His soulful rest. Jesus, Himself, extends this divine invitation in Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) which says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” What an exchange!
Ultimately, Jesus knows our needs before we know them ourselves (Ps. 139). He bore all of our grief, sorrow, and suffering (Is. 53:4). He watches over us and never slumbers (Ps. 121:5-8), He’s gone before us, and has promised to be with us, never leaving or forsaking us (Deut. 31:6). You simply need to be ready and willing to be a stretcher-bearer the next time He calls upon you to carry someone to Him.
Here are four ways you can carry someone to Jesus:
- Prayer – One dare not underestimate the power of intercessory prayer to the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). The Holy Spirit, Himself intercedes for us (Rom. 8:27). If the Lord prompts you to pray for someone, pray. Gather a group to pray with you. For where two are three are gathered in His name, He is there in the midst (Matt. 18:20) Offer to pray with the person you’re praying for.
- Proactivity – Be willing to think ahead and take care of any mediation work. Gather information, rally a help network, start a prayer chain. Accompany someone to an appointment and be a second set of ears, taking notes, asking questions, and giving assurance.
- Practical needs – There is never any shortage of ways to meet practical needs of those who need to be carried to Jesus: meals, housework, yardwork, childcare, gift cards, pamper items, reading materials, etc. Inquire about a person’s needs then offer from whatever resource you have to give.
- Presence – One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is your quiet, unobtrusive presence. No words necessary. No pat answers. No false assurances. Simply sitting by someone’s side, silently praying, or being available to offer any assistance as needs arise is more valuable than you may realize.
The next time the Lord lays someone on your heart or places someone on your mind or puts someone who could use some love and support on your path, carry them to Jesus. He knows exactly what to do with them.
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple, Dancing in the Rain, and A Ministry Survival Guide. She’s also a writer for Just Between Us Magazine, theStory, and Good Ground. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (three on earth, one in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, ON, Canada.