Do You Wish To Get Well?

 

And a certain man was there, who had been sick thirty-eight years in his sickness.  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?”  The sick man answered Him,  “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me”.   Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your pallet and walk.”  And immediately the man became well and took up his pallet and began to walk.    John 5: 5-9

It seems like an odd question to ask a paralytic.  Wouldn’t the assumption be that he wanted to be well?  After all, he was at the pool waiting for the stirring of the waters in hope that he could get in first.  It might be the assumption, but Jesus knew better, and so he asked the odd questions because He knows that not all people who are ill want to be well.  Sometimes sickness becomes a way of life for them and they enjoy some of the benefits it brings – more attention from loved ones, less expectations being placed on them, a ready excuse to get out of things they would rather not do, sympathy, pity.  Being healed would change a lot of that.

For this man, being healed would change his life.  And while we would think that is awesome, imagine for a moment that for 38 years your life had been defined by a condition that left you dependent on others.  This man’s social life might have been the time spent waiting on the waters to stir.  He didn’t have to clock in at work daily and deal with chores when he went home.  Whatever his routine, it was his familiar and being healed would redefine his life and cause it to be unfamiliar, at least for a while.  So it seems a good question to ask.  Do you really want to be well?

The man didn’t respond with a simple yes or no; he made excuses. It isn’t really as simple as it seems, after all.  Jesus has a way of getting right to the heart of the matter with people.  Lately, I have asked myself that question.  Do I really want to be well?  And it hasn’t been as easy to answer as I would have thought.  I do want to be well, but it is hard to imagine my life returning to …what?  Whatever my new normal will be will be unfamiliar.  Do I really want things to change?  If any aspect of my healing depends upon me taking better care of myself, am I really ready to assume that responsiblity or, like the man in the story, have I become too content with my excuses?  What expectations would be put on me again if I were well enough to handle them?

While I went kicking and screaming into this new normal I’m in, I have grown somewhat comfortable with the routine.  Being healed would mean learning a new normal all over again and wonder  – am I really ready to move on into more responsibility, more expectations, less excuses? It’s not so easy to answer.

Lord, You know my heart.  You are intimately acquainted with me and you know every and all hindrance to my receiving my healing.  Would You reveal them to me?  Would You show me where I am resistant to the changes being healed would mean?   Create in my a clean heart, O God, renew a right spirit within me.  I trust You with my healing and whatever my future holds, I know You will be there for me.  Thank You, Amen.

pic credit: matt-lifein

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