By Tessa Stouffer
JOHN 5:2-8 In Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate in the north city wall is a pool with the Aramaic name Bethsaida. It had five covered porches, and a crowd of people who were sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed sat there. A certain man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, knowing that he had already been there a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I don’t have anyone who can put me in the water when it is stirred up. When I’m trying to get to it, someone else has gotten in ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
Do you want to get well? Jesus asks this question to a man who has struggled (for 38 years!!!) with one or more physical ailments that have left him helpless. It is hard to imagine the man would ever say, “No” after being asked that question. We see that the man doesn’t say, “Yes”, and he doesn’t say, “No.” Instead, he tells Jesus that he’s tried, but something always happens that prevents his healing.
For years I struggled with addiction. At my lowest points, I would cry out to the darkness that I hated the effect it had on my life, and how much better my life would be if I could just ‘be better’. I, too, was waiting to be placed into something miraculous that would change my life. However, I also kept telling myself something was in the way when I was ready to get in. I can only imagine the things that would have run through my head if in one of those moments I heard the voice of Jesus asking me if I wanted to get well.
What will people expect from me?
Will others ever think of me as anything more than my illness?
What if the same thing happens again and my healing was for nothing?
Am I even worthy of being healed?
What seems to be a simple question, is now a loaded one. Notice Jesus’ response to what the man said. “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Jesus doesn’t offer to do what everyone else has done, He simply provides the man with a choice. This man now has to decide if he will trust Jesus, or continue in helplessness. When a therapist called out the addiction in my life, I faced the same choice. I’m happy to say that both the man and I chose to trust Jesus and were healed!
I know that not everyone struggles with physical ailments or addictions, but there’s likely something in our lives that we struggle with. I’d like us to take some time to really dig into our lives, our hearts, and ask God to illuminate an area where we need healing. What needs to be healed may not be something you can just “get up” and “walk away” from, but the first step is trusting Jesus and giving Him the lead in your healing.
Prayer: Jesus, Thank you for your love and mercy. You see my struggles, but you don’t leave me alone. Instead, You draw closer, offering an ease of my burden with grace and rest. In the times that I wear the heavy yoke of doing things in my own power, You remind me that it’s not mine to wear. All I have to do is trust You and let You take it from me. You are the Almighty Healer and You will not fail me. Search me and show me where in my life I need to trust You more fully. I’m in awe of Your heart for me, and I praise your Holy and Powerful Name. Amen.