I have noted my aversion to heights before in this space. It’s so strong that I have to be strapped into my sofa before I can look at one of those death-defying sky-walker videos you can find online. The kind where people do crazy stunts on the top of very tall buildings.
Watching the builders skip around way above my head makes me admire the things people will do when there’s a need for pay. And it has made me reflect on what some people are prepared to do when it’s time to pray.
My mind goes to the familiar story in Mark 2, where some friends bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus for His touch. But they can’t get close because the crowd is so big, so they go up on the roof, cut a hole, and lower the man down on his bed.
I wonder: Did he ask them to take him to Jesus? Or did they ask if they could take him? Or did they just decide they were going to take him whether he wanted to go or not? Whatever the case, I see four ways in which bringing their friend to Jesus probably cost them something.
Their reputation. We don’t know whether they asked permission to make a skylight, but their determination to get their friend in front of Jesus pushed them to extreme actions. As the people around saw what was going on, did they think these guys were pushy, rude, nuts, and out of line?
Their time and effort. This episode took more than a moment of their time. They had to get together, collect their friend, and then roll up their sleeves and get to work. No doubt they got dusty and dirty as they broke a hole in the roof. Maybe even rubbed some blisters as they lowered their friend to the ground.
Their security. The temperature of the crowds around Jesus could turn in a moment. It could have gotten ugly as the four friends disrupted things for other people. And even if the guys had a head for heights, they had to clamber around and make a hole without falling through themselves. Then, they had to stand close enough to the edge to get their friend down.
Their money. Chances are that the owner of the building wanted someone to pay for this mess. After all, Old Testament law was clear—if someone damaged another person’s property, they had to make restitution.
All of which can make some of my passing prayers for friends seem a bit flimsy in comparison. But these four were not to be deterred in bringing their friend to Jesus. They were going to do whatever it took.
Am I that concerned? Am I willing to risk being misunderstood, to sweat and chafe, to put myself in danger, and to pick up the tab? May our heart for our friends take us out of our comfort zone, like the paralytic’s four buddies…up on the roof.
Photo credit: Travis Estell via Foter.com/CC BY-NC-SA