Let's Be Friends

“Heart level companions, even for a season, are such a God gift.” A friend of mine messaged me that recently as I was talking about how our lifegroup seemed to be going to a new and deeper level. This sentiment was floating around in my head as I listened to Pastor Phil speak this week from Mark 2 and the story of the paralytic lowered down the roof to Jesus.

I wonder what life was like for this paralyzed man. To have a physical disability in any era is challenging, but it was especially difficult in the ancient world. We see the moral assumptions held by the Jewish community during Jesus’ time during a miracle of healing a man born blind; the people asked, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” It was even more severe in the pagan world; Aristotle wrote in his classic treatise, Politics: "As to the exposure and rearing of children, let there be a law that no deformed child shall live." Likely this man’s prospects in life were rather dim; his whole life would have been constrained to a mat where he was likely at the mercy of others who would lead him to a place where he could beg for alms.

But there was one thing this man did not lack that many of us do: friends. I heard a statistic the other day that 40% of Americans have zero to one confidants. According to a US survey conducted in 2019, 61% of respondents reported that they felt lonely, an increase of 7% in just one year. And that was before the isolation brought on by the global pandemic. In contrast, somehow this man had enough friends-- and friends of such a quality-- that he could be carried by them and lowered through a roof to see Jesus.

Can I offer a word of exhortation? If you’re thinking of leaving the church because you haven’t found people to connect with, don’t give up yet. I know it can be challenging in a church our size to really get to know people, even without the constraints of social distancing protocols and online viewing. And maybe many lifegroup semesters have gone by and you keep taking on-ramps and off-ramps without really forming the kind of deep connections you long for. I wish that a best friend could be assigned at The Next Steps table if you have that as a need. If only it were that simple.

But it’s worth the struggle and the risk to keep showing up, keep reaching out, keep offering yourself as the kind of faithful and generous friend you long to have in reciprocation. We weren’t meant to walk this journey alone. Sometimes we need to lift someone up and bring them to Jesus, and sometimes we’re the ones lying helpless on the mat, with our bodies and our hearts in desperate need of Jesus’ healing touch.

Let’s be friends.

by Steve Lamp
Steve and his wife Melissa began attending Kingsway in 2014. Not normally prone to public displays of emotion, he wept during the first worship service and knew he had found home. As an avid reader, Steve believes the ideas we allow into our minds are critical to our spiritual formation. He enjoys exploring nature, playing and spending time with his two young sons and over-quoting his favorite authors, C.S. Lewis and Dallas Willard.




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