John 5:3-6 (NLT)
3Crowds of sick people-blind, lame, or paralyzed-lay on the porches. 5One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
John 5:9-10 (NLT)
9Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath day. 10So the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! It’s illegal to carry that sleeping mat!”
John 5:14 (NLT)
14But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”
John 5:39-42 (NLT)
39″You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life. 41Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me, 42because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.
It has always amazed me to note that this man laid by the pool for 38 years. While I have my times where I lack initiative, most of these phases don’t last 38 years. Granted, I still need healing in some areas of my life and these issues have lingered longer than 38 years. But is that
denial, ignorance, or fear?
Are there areas in my life that I just refuse to look at? Do I know about these issues, but I just deny that they exist? Why would I deny these issues? What would cause me to ignore areas that if eliminated, would allow me to experience more of the abundant life? Was this man by the pool in denial? I think that if I were to want healing, and I really believed that the stirred pool brought healing, I would do whatever it takes to be in that pool when it was stirred — even if
I had to sleep in the pool. No, I don’t think the man was in denial, he knew he needed healing — that’s why he was near the pool. I too know I need healing. That’s why I pray, read my Bible, and hang out with other Christian disciples. I am at least near the pool of healing.
What about ignorance? I think there are areas that I’m unaware of and that need God’s healing. He often reveals new areas to me. But that doesn’t mean I know it all. The man at the pool knew he needed physical healing, but may not be aware of his spiritual needs. That’s why Jesus sought him out a second time to warn him to avoid further sin in his life. He needed further
I know about my pain, stressors, busyness, and emotional baggage — that’s why I often seek God’s healing. But much of my motivation is discomfort. What I really need is spiritual healing.
Maybe it was fear that was keeping this man from truly seeking to be healed. But what could he have been afraid of? Why wouldn’t he want the best that life has to offer? Why wouldn’t he do anything and everything to make sure he was the next one healed? Was he comfortable in his little rut?
Why am I afraid of change in my life? Why am I afraid to truly letting God transform me? Why am I afraid of letting go of denial and ignorance? Why wouldn’t I do everything in my power to seek healing? Why don’t I spend more time in prayer, more time with the Lord, more time in the Word, and more time practicing the spiritual disciplines?
Because I’m afraid! I’m afraid it will be painful. I’m afraid of giving up my selfish desires. I’m afraid that God will ask me to do something too big and that I’ll fail. I’m afraid that I’ll get out of my comfort zone and I’ll be walking on unfamiliar ground.
The man by the well hadn’t walked in years — if he were to be healed, he’d have to walk. What would that be like? He’d be meeting people he’d never met. He’d rise up to a new social class. He’d leave behind his old friends. He’d probably have to get a job and quit begging. He’d have
to learn the city streets and how to maneuver the market. His world, as a man by the pool, consisted of about 10 square yards. If he were to be healed, his world would be unlimited. Before, he had a few “friends” who were as bad off as he, but should he be healed, he’d be meeting all sorts of people.
If I truly let God heal me — to raise me up out of this so-called life, what would happen? What are the possibilities? Where would it lead me? How much would I grow? Who would I meet and who would I leave behind?
Sometimes I like to wallow in nostalgic memories. I remember being 5 years old and lying in the tall summer grass in our backyard. Time drifted with no beginning and no end. I didn’t have a single care and I knew everything was fine. 20 years later, as a young adult, I’ve never been more independent. I have friends, money, a great job, and I have the world by the tail — but
I don’t dare let go. It is a fast a furious life — but with the single purpose of satisfying my desires. Time is limited, but I’ve only just begun to see what that phrase means. And now, 20 years after that, I’m in a whole different spectrum. I seek the simplicity of the 5 year old Gary and my purposes are no longer selfish — I’m looking to serve God, my (growing) family, and my church.
Time is more limited than before, but I seek to carve out periods of simplicity that restore my soul and balance my life. But I still wallow in nostalgia — through music, photographs, stories, and friendships. This is comfortable territory. I know this ground. I know these people. I know where I am, where I’m going, and what I’m about.
Then Jesus approaches me and asks, “Do you want to be healed?” The next 30 seconds are crucial. How will I answer Him? Do I give Him an excuse like the man at the pool? Or, do I look Him in the eye and give a resounding “yes!” My history is excuses — my desire is to get up and walk.
What am I going to say?
It is time to move forward. It is time to get up and walk. If I truly believe that God knows me better than I know myself. And if it’s true that He loves me more than I love myself. And, if he knows my past and my future… wouldn’t it be true that He wouldn’t ask me to do anything that
would be harmful to me. In fact, since He already promised to give me the abundant life, wouldn’t anything He asks of me lead me to greater abundance?
Even if it means leaving friends, family, cars, homes, preconceived notions, established patterns, selfish ideas, wants, needs, hopes, fears, et cetera — why do I think that I know best? Shouldn’t I give Jesus a resounding “YES!”
I’m ready God, let’s go!
Ooh boy. Here it comes Lord. The prayer you’ve been waiting for. The one I’m afraid to pray. The one I’ve always given with caveats — you remember: “Please Lord, make me into the man you want me to be, but please be gentle on me.” I think I’m ready to drop the caveat — but I’m still scared. I’m ready to drop the excuses. I’m ready to move forward. I’m ready to be the man you created me to be.
I believe, but help my unbelief.
I want to be healed Lord — save me in spite of myself, my weak, un-christlike self. Mold me, fashion me — raise me up into your pure and holy atmosphere of love.