Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Mark 2:3-5


The lame man was fortunate to have friends who loved him enough to go to the great length they did to connect him to Jesus. They must have had a lot of faith to have done so and to believe that Jesus would heal him.

This story reminds me of the greater than average cases of people living with depression right now. Depression is not unlike the physical paralysis the man in this story suffered. In depression. Instead of the body, the mind is affected. The workings of the mind become sluggish and foggy. Emotionally, all appears dark. It becomes hard to do normal things. And yes, our mind also affects us physically to a degree.

People with depression often have a hard time connecting with others. This isn’t only true in their human relationships, It can be true in their relationship with God as well. God feels distant. It becomes hard to pray. This is not their fault. It’s the nature of their disease.

In the way the men in the Bible story helped their lame friend connect with Jesus, we, as people of faith, could do the same for our depressed friends. We could help bring them closer to Christ’s healing power. We could help them begin bridging the gap.

How can you help?

Be Christ’s presence for your friends by treating them as Jesus would. Accept that they’re not well and that they need your compassion. Let them know you care and that they’re not alone. Be prepared to let them talk about what they’re feeling. Just having someone listen will help.

Don’t advise them in what to do. Nobody knows what they’re experiencing and so, to be given advice by someone who doesn’t understand can be annoying, even hurtful.

If they’re feeling too disconnected to pray or read the Bible on their own, offer to help them do that. People with depression most need to know that someone cares and is there for them—even if only by phone. Tell them that Jesus is not as far away as he seems. He feels their pain along with them.

It’s wise for both you and your friend to set some boundaries so you don’t become worn out. Arrange times when connecting would be good for both of you. But do make allowance for those occasions when your friend enters a critical time and talking becomes more urgent.

Most of all, as a conduit of God’s love and peace, you yourself will need to seek his presence frequently. Ask him to fill you with his love—especially at those times you are meeting with those who are starving for it. Not only will they be filled. You will too.