I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free! Psalm 119:32, NIV1984

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Digging Through the Roof

Nearly twenty years have passed since I first stood in that place, smoothing hands across stone columns, wiping fingers across wet cheeks in awe.

Nearly twenty treks of the earth around the sun since I carried a heart-still-broken across continents and seas and stood in that place where He once stood, restoring bodies broken by this world.

And something dead in me rose to live again that day.  Some wild hope burst right through my stone-cold heart, and hot tears ran like rivers, healing springs.

The stone pillars of that ancient synagogue became my Ebenezers, memorial stones, reminders of the work that God had done, those broken stones bearing witness to the pieces of a shattered heart restored.

And though Jesus had cried out against that city because of unbelief, for this heart, it was a place of believing.


I stood there again, two Sundays past, licking raindrops from my lips, breathing in the sweet scent of late winter rain.  And I wondered about the ones who had dug though the roof of a house nearby, believing for their friend who lay trapped in a body unmoving.  I wondered about the ones in the house below, brushing caked mud and straw and broken branches from their hair as the roof caved in above them.  I wondered about those raindrops falling as we stood there, a bit of earth's roof and heaven's floorboards come dripping down on top of our bare heads.

He asked us as we stood there... "Will you be the one?"  He spoke of archaeology and excavations and historical accuracy.  And then he said this:  "Pray that you will be the friend who will do whatever it takes."

Those friends were willing to tear the roof right off that place, to dig straight through to get to Jesus.

When Jesus returned to Capernaum... While He was preaching God's word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat.  They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head.  Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.  Mark 2:1-4, NLT (emphasis mine)

Will I be that kind of friend?

I have that kind of friend.  She's dug though the roof a time or twenty, two hundred even, for me.  When my boy-child lay struggling hard for each breath, and I lay on the floor by his bed, willing him to keep going, pleading with him to just keep breathing; she lay awake, digging though the roof. Night after night, for a year and more, she carried him to Jesus with her prayers. And I slept at last, knowing the One who watched over Israel and my boy-child never slumbered or slept, and knowing I had a friend who was storming heaven with her pleas for the health of my child.


We turned pages, from Mark's story of the ones who dug through the roof, to John's account of the man who didn't have a friend to help.  Thirty-eight years he lay paralyzed, hoping for a chance to slip into the healing waters.  Thirty-eight years he lay waiting for a friend to help.  When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be well, the man replied, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool."

No one.

No friend to carry him to Jesus.  No brother to lift his body into the healing waters.  No sister to bear him up on wings of prayer.

No one.

Our friend asked us, after he told us about the archaeology, the excavations, the history of that place, "Will you be the friend who will do whatever it takes?"

And I swallowed hard.

What if it takes digging through the roof?  What if I have to get my hands dirty?  What if it takes every ounce of strength that I have?  What if it takes courage, the guts to do what no one else is doing?  What if it's hard and out of my comfort zone?  What if it takes time - time I had planned to use for something else?  What it keeps me awake at night?  What if everyone in town is blocking the way, and I have to step out in wild faith?

I like my comfortable life, my scheduled weeks, my well-planned worship gatherings.  I like following the rules (mostly) and doing what others expect and knowing their pleasure.

What if I have to step out on a limb?

I remember Amanda Jones saying of a giant step of faith she and her husband, Curtis, took:  "We were way out on a limb with God.  But the view of His faithfulness was spectacular."

But I know that kind of view comes with a certain risk.

Am I willing to take the risk?

Will I be that kind of friend?

Will you?

Even if it means digging through the roof?

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, 
"My child, your sins are forgiven."
Mark 2:5, NLT
(emphasis mine)

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