God At Work Through IM

Faith-Filled Friends

Faith-Filled Friends

What's so important about faith-filled friends, especially when you are "paralyzed" by problems?

Four of those who came were carrying a man who could not walk. But they could not get him close to Jesus because of the crowd. So they made a hole by digging through the roof above Jesus. Then they lowered the man through it on a mat. Jesus saw their faith. So he said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:3-5

God included a wonderful surprise in the Bible study I shared in jail recently. While I prepared for it, one verse stood out; “Jesus saw their faith.” Plural! At least two people involved had the gift of faith in Jesus. None of the accounts give us an exact total. My guess is that most (if not all) of the people carrying the paralyzed man had faith. What else would make them persist in their back-breaking efforts? They didn’t give up when the house where Jesus was preaching was packed with people. They carried their friend up steps, clawed through a roof, and carefully lowered him through the new opening to be closer to Jesus. This difficult work required strength, stamina, and careful coordination.

In our Bible study, we rejoiced in Jesus’ healing power and the friends who helped the man with paralysis. Many shared that they felt “paralyzed” with their addiction to alcohol and other drugs. They appreciated being incarcerated because it kept them away from substances that destroyed their health, families, and finances. Once they were released, they knew it was crucial to have loving supporters in their daily struggle with addiction. I emphasized, “We all need faith-filled friends who gently plop us in front of Jesus! These friends help us in our faith!”

Another woman, Heather, joined us near the end of our Bible study. She needed to talk. “I am an angry person,” she confessed. “I’ve been mean to most of the people here.” She gestured to the other women and said, “But they brought me back to Jesus. My faith was gone, but they kept talking about Jesus and being kind. They showed me Jesus!”

Amazed, I looked at the women and exclaimed, “You are the faith-filled friends! You ‘carried’ Heather to Jesus! I was talking about people outside of jail supporting your faith and sobriety, but you are doing that now for Heather!”

You, our partners in ministry, are also those faith-filled friends. Your support through prayer, volunteering, encouragement, and donations helps us bring people to Jesus. Through our ministry, the Gospel reaches those who are “paralyzed” behind the walls of incarceration, addiction, and psychological and physical struggles. You bring them closer to Jesus’ healing and love. Thank you and thank God!

Tammy Schmidtke

Ministry Behind the Walls

Institutional Ministries is a nonprofit organization established in 1901 that carries out behind-the-walls ministry by shining the light of Jesus’ love into hearts.