Imagine a reasonable person with a big problem – marital issues, drug addiction, depression, etc. If someone came along and said, “How would you like me to help you with your problem?” how would the reasonable person respond? We can imagine this person would accept the offer. But do we accept the offer of help that Jesus gives us?
Trina Littleton, a member of a Rock microsite, gave her testimony in video today. Hers is a story of difficult childhood, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, homelessness, and an overwhelming, life-long sense of helplessness and hopelessness. But beyond all of this, her story is one of redemption, as she finally allowed God to touch her life and bring her to a place of restoration.
Trina’s story was paralleled with today’s passage from John 5, where many crippled people are lying on a patio near a body of water. The people of this day believed that when the water moved, it signified the presence of an angel who was able to heal them of their afflictions, so they would clamor to the bottom, believing that the first one to reach the water would be healed.
Jesus enters this scene and encounters a man who has been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. He approaches the man and asks him a simple question: “Do you want to be well?” (v. 5 )
Jesus asks the same of you: Are you willing to be well? How far will you go?
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “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.” John 5:7
Rather than simply replying, “yes,” the man answers Jesus with an excuse that there is no one to help him get into the water.
How long is long enough to be hurting and hanging on to excuses as to why things cannot change?
Are you holding on to reasons why your problems cannot be helped? How long have you been in dead-end jobs, thought of yourself as a failure, stayed chained to an addiction, or suffered through a terrible relationship? As we look at the answer of this suffering man, Pastor Miles asks you to evaluate your own situation; are you suffering unnecessarily? How long is long enough to be hurting and hanging on to excuses as to why things cannot change?
It’s easy to believe there are too many obstacles in the way of experiencing a life that thrives. But Jesus does not ask the man who will carry him to the water. He does not ask if we have the resources to be well. It’s not up to us to decide how God will heal us. He has resources and connections that we could never fathom! He’s only asking, “Do you want to be well?”
Isn’t it time to allow God the opportunity to enter in and make changes in your life?
When you’ve been down a long time and rejected and disappointed for long enough, you start to push people away. You start to give up on the life that you have and rejecting the hand that reaches out to help you. But when the paralyzed man gives Jesus an excuse as to why he can’t be helped, Jesus doesn’t walk away. He heals the man anyway.
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:8-9
We can find encouragement for ourselves to receive the healing touch of Jesus, but we can also be inspired to be tenacious in the lives of others whom we feel called to help. When you see someone in need, don’t get caught up in evaluating your resources to help that person. Simply ask for and listen to God’s direction. You don’t need to figure everything out on your own. You only need to trust the Lord to help you through and to not give up. We may not have the necessary resources on our own, but God can and will use His resources to fulfill His calling.
You don't have to look far to see the handiwork of God in someone’s life. Every day God’s hand makes something marvelous out of a life that was a mess! So His question to you today still stands:
“Do you want to be well?”
God can help you with your marriage relationship, dysfunctional thinking, and self esteem. He can deliver you from drug addiction and fill your heart with peace that the world cannot give.
Will you choose today to trust and surrender, to walk with God, listen to His voice, and see His purpose for your life? Or do you want to keep lying on the mat, doing things your own way, living a sub-par life? You don’t need to know how God is going to work, only that He loves you and He can help. If you can trust God by faith, that’s all you need to know.