Friday, June 13, 2014

Being a table-leg

The story of the friends who bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus has been roaming around in my spirit in the last few days, marinating, one might say. Several years ago, I was part of a group of friends who called ourselves "The table-legs," because of that story. There were five of us, you see, and at any given moment, one or another of us, was the one who was paralyzed with something. Lying on the table of illness, grief, indecision, worry, fear, some sort of crossroads. The rest of us held up the table on which the hurting friend was prone. Carried her to Jesus, breaking through walls with our prayers, when she was unable to do so on her own.

This week, I'm reminded of the privilege of being a Table-leg. Someone very dear to us hurts and feels gob-shocked by the unexpectedness of that hurt. The family reels with it. Yes, I might well say, they are paralyzed (at least temporarily). I can't say that I know how they feel. I can't imagine.Though there have been moments in my life when I've felt paralyzed by dread and pain and grief, every situation is different, unique. God knows this. 

God knows.

What I love about this story in Mark 2 is that we have a template for what WE--the body--are meant to do when those we love are gob-shocked. We aren't meant to share platitudes with them, to tell them to buck up, trust God, etc. No, it's OUR job to do the work they can't do. We push through the crowd and climb the roof. We break away the bricks and dig through the roof to get to Jesus on their behalf. Whatever it takes, this story tells us: that's what we do. We get our knees and our hands and our fingernails dirty (maybe even bloody), praying for them. And we don't stop until we get to Him. We don't stop until we see that they get up from their mats and can begin to walk themselves. Rather, we continue when we see them arise from their paralysis, and can join us in the prayer. Yes, our praying for them doesn't stop at the end of their paralysis, of course. It simply grows with them joining us as we hold them upright, rather than on the table.

That's it. Don't ask your hurting friends what you can do for them. What way is there to tell you? Just start climbing the roof, just start moving those bricks. 

Be their table-legs!


Pamela M. Steiner said...

What a beautiful picture of what we, The Body of Christ, are supposed to do for the members of our body. Yes, we are to be the table legs that hold up and carry our brothers and sisters to the Lord, through prayer, words of comfort, encouragement, and intervention as needed. I know that I've needed that kind of support here lately. It's wonderful to know that there are strong and sturdy "legs" lifting me up to the Father. I want to be able to do that for others as His time, when I am strong enough to stand again.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

P.s. I hope you don't mind but I posted a link to this on my Facebook page.

jeskmom said...

I'm glad this helps, Pam, and happy to have you link it to your FB page.

jeskmom said...
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Dawn Paoletta said...

Wow. Carolyn, i think there are more Table Legs needed in the church. Beautiful post. So many stop at prayers and keeping a distance...a far distance at that, when some are "gob-shocked"...grateful for the few who are willing and able to move bricks. I hope I am able and willing when the time comes to be a table leg , too.

Kristina said...

Shared on Facebook as well.