“Are you willing?” That seemed like an unnecessary question to ask; yet five weeks into recovery that was the homework topic. Initially, I just wanted to breeze through that day’s homework, but as I read the lesson I was reminded of a story about a lame man needing to be healed.
The story of the lame man can be found in John 5:1-9. It says the man had been lame or paralyzed for thirty-eight years, which was most likely his entire life. He had been waiting by the pool of Bethesda along with a multitude of other invalids, all who were waiting to be healed. There was a superstition in that culture that getting in the pool when the water moved would heal them. Can you imagine spending your whole life paralyzed, just waiting to be healed?
Jesus sees the lame man and knew he had been waiting a long time, yet Jesus asks, “Do you want to be healed?” That seems like such an obvious question. He has been waiting most of his life to make it into the water to be healed! The question almost feels patronizing, but I think there was a point to asking such an obvious question. Rather than answering with a simple “Yes,” the man responds with an excuse. He says he has no one to help him into the water and every time he tries to get in someone goes before him. It’s hard to imagine Jesus, the Son of God, asking if you want to be healed and responding with an excuse or complaint. Yet isn’t that what we do?
I believe everyone wants to be healthy, happy, and whole. But, for various reasons, we allow ourselves to continue in unhealthy, destructive patterns rather than choosing to get well. For me, I like to be self-sufficient, and I certainly don’t like being dependent. I instinctively look to my own ability to find a solution to my problems when I really need to surrender and look to Jesus. By holding on to self-sufficiency I don’t find healing. Instead, I become like the lame man who was looking for his own solution and find myself still sitting alone, paralyzed.
What about you? What is holding you back?
- Is there something in your life that is hindering your healing?
- Are you holding on to self-sufficiency, unable to surrender?
- Are you not yet ready to let go of your sin?
- Are you afraid of change or of working through a recovery program?
- Do you believe that you are unique and that you are unable to get well?
- Are you looking in other places for healing rather than turning to Jesus?
After the lame man complained to Jesus that he had no one to help and that he couldn’t make it to the water, Jesus commanded him to get up and walk. At once the man was healed. He didn’t heal himself; he only had to trust Jesus and attempt to get up. Jesus is the one who enabled him to get up and walk. Are you willing to trust Jesus for change? Are you willing to attempt the next step and follow God’s path of healing? It may not be easy or immediate. Living in freedom requires much of you, but God is faithful to carry you through healing if you are willing.
Do you really want to get well?
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:2-5)