The ambulance I was riding in came to a sudden halt on the highway, sirens blaring and lights flashing. The other cars couldn’t pull over and let us through – there was no room. Every vehicle sat motionless. We were trapped on a highway that was backed up for miles and we needed help. Now. I glanced down at my friend, and although the monitor showed a slow heartbeat, he was quiet and lifeless…and I was scared.
I called up to the front of the ambulance ‘excuse me, sir?’ The frustrated driver locked eyes with me in the mirror – ‘yes?’ I hesitated…not even sure what I wanted to say. ‘Is there anything else we can do for my friend?’ My question was met with silence as we considered our options.
Suddenly the driver opened his door, jumped out, and threw open the back doors. Without a word, he gently pulled the gurney towards him, unlocked the wheels and pulled down the frame. I jumped out to help. In silent unity, we secured my friend and began pushing him towards the hospital, past the cars full of curious onlookers. 1 Mile, 2 miles…the sun was hot and my sandals were very uncomfortable – but still we continued on with purpose.
Suddenly and without warning, there was a jolt - and we looked down with new frustration as we noticed that two of the wheels had cracked and broken off. The other two wheels were now useless. What now? We hadn’t looked back until that moment – and as we did, we saw that we’d accumulated a small crowd behind us. One of the onlookers shouted ‘keep going! You can do this! We’ll help you!’ Two strong men picked up the top of the stretcher and we joined them at the end; the four of us now carrying my friend on our shoulders, each of us supporting a corner of the bed. Another mile went by. There was the hospital!
As we approached the ER, we were shocked to see a huge crowd blocking the automatic door. We hadn’t come this far to give up. We found some shade, placed the mattress on the ground and the driver checked for a pulse as we cooled down and began to discuss our options. One of our guys went around the building and came back to report that every entry door was blocked. This hospital had some of the best doctors in the world inside and my friend needed to see them. Our plan unfolded. We would carry my friend up the back fire escape and onto the roof. Then we would pull the roof apart piece by piece until we could lower my friend into the hospital right in front of the doctor.
This story may sound ridiculous and most will recognize it as a modernized version of the real story in Mark chapter 2. Like the men in the modern story, the guys written about in Mark 2 overcame serious obstacles to help their friend. They didn’t stop when things went wrong – they didn’t throw their hands up in despair – they pushed forward no matter what.
Take a listen to Pastor’s sermon from June 4th to find out how and why we should RAISE our expectations, ANTICIPATE obstacles, INCREASE our contact with people, START lifting others up, and EXPECT God to work!