“Do you want to get well?” Jesus asks the invalid lying near the healing waters at the pool of Bethesda after learning he’d been in the same condition for thirty eight years (John 5: 1-15). Instead of an affirmative: “Yes I want to get well” He responds with several excuses why he can’t:
“I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in someone else goes down ahead of me.”
It’s a little known fact that not everyone who is physically, spiritually or mentally sick wants to get well. Many people have plenty of means but they choose not to act on them because there are advantages to staying how we are. Pity can make us feel relevant to others and sometimes hiding in it is easier than finding the courage to do what is necessary to get better. Do you have character flaws you want to be free from but find they provide comfort like ‘crutches?’ If you got rid of them you could run, but you’d rather hold on and limp along?
Anger helped me ‘level the playing field’ and hide the fear, hurt, and inadequacies behind it.
Alcohol and other escape mechanisms helped me avoid the pain of a lie that was buried inside me for 42 years – the belief that my feelings didn’t matter.
And fear still helps me avoid victory and conflict – the two things that scare me.
Being free means doing and saying things I lack the courage to do most days because they’re difficult and uncomfortable. But praise God because He gives us what we cannot give ourselves.
Being healed means being free from self-pity. It means we can no longer blame others for our problems, pain, and suffering. It means in essence, having to ‘pick up our mat and walk’ like Jesus commanded the invalid to do.
Do you want to get well?
Jesus is such a gentleman. He always asks.