Steve and Annie Chapman wrote and recorded a song called “Faith of a Few Close Friends”, and I fell in love with it many years ago. It tells the story of the paralyzed man in Matthew 9 who was unable to get to Jesus on his own. His friends lifted his bed and carried him to Jesus. He wasn’t able to do it alone, but seeing his need, they came together in faith and compassion and took him there. The Bible says that when Jesus saw their faith, he healed the man. It doesn’t say that Jesus saw the man’s own efforts and then healed him. It says that Jesus healed him because of the faith of his friends.
Steve tells the story of meeting with a group of friends in a busy restaurant. They hadn’t gotten together for awhile, and had a lot of catching up to do. Their grandkids were growing and reaching new milestones, their careers were changing and expanding, and their lives had new peaks and valleys to share.
In the middle of that noisy, crowded restaurant, he noticed that one friend was sitting quietly. She wasn’t interacting at all. No talking, no smiling, no eye contact. He had known her for many years, and knew that she must be deeply wounded to withdraw in such a way. She sensed him looking at her, and caught his gaze. Tears welled up in her eyes, and then spilled down her cheeks. As their other friends noticed one by one, the conversation stopped, and someone asked her to share what was going on.
Sobbing, she confided that her husband had been out of work for a long time, and that she was now solely responsible for providing for her family’s needs. The pressure of the situation was causing problems in her marriage, and her children were picking up on the tension and responding with disturbing behaviour. She said that she felt powerless and emotionally paralyzed by all the stress in her life.
Simultaneously, they all stood up and crowded around her, wrapped her in their arms, laid their hands on her shoulders and began to pray outloud, asking God to intervene on behalf of their sister and His child.
Steve’s song echoes the account of the paralyzed man and his friends, and it also echoes his experience in the restaurant with his friends.
Faith of a Few Close Friends
There are homes filled with children, and husbands, and wives
Who feel like that man who was paralyzed.
They have no hope they will ever survive,
But let the miracles begin.
Let those who are strong, and those who care
Lift them up to Jesus through the power of prayer,
Take them to the Healer, and on your way there
Don’t forget about the man and his friends.
They took that man to Jesus.
He had no faith of his own.
But when Jesus saw the faith of a few close friends
He said, “Take up your bed and go home.”.
Who can you carry to Jesus today?