“Do you want to get well? Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:6,8, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Do you want to get well? That seems like a strange question, doesn’t it. But sometimes we can get so used to being soul sick, we don’t even realize that we are not truly well. Sometimes the chains we wear shackled to our hearts become so comfortable, we get used to the pain and forget what it is like to be well. Perhaps some of us have never known. But the big question is – do you want to get well? Do you want to be free? Of course I do, I hear you say. But do you really?
There was a certain man that Jesus encountered who faced the same crossroads in his life. In Jerusalem, men and women with various infirmities congregated at the Sheep Gate Pool. Surrounding the pool were five porticoes or shelters, where sick people clustered, waiting for the “moving of the waters.” They believed an angel of the Lord came down from heaven at certain seasons and stirred the pool. When the people saw the waters ripple, they all made a mad dash to jump in. They believed that the first one to make it to the pool would be healed.
One man, an invalid, had been waiting by the pool for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man lying there and learned that he had been doing so for thirty-eight years, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6).
That seems like an unusual question – or does it? Sometimes we get used to being “sick.” We become attached to our wounds. They become a part of who we are and we can’t imagine life without them. For this man, healing meant a drastic life change. He would have to get a job, become a responsible adult, and stop lounging by the pool all day. Oh, we say we want to be free, but do we?
Pain can become an idol. Not that we worship it in a good sense. But we worship it as an awesome force and allow it to control our lives. When we allow our past to control our lives and dictate our future, we are giving it the power of a god and making it an idol. Author Richard Exley wrote: “We can hug our hurts and make a shrine out of our sorrows or we can offer them to God as a sacrifice of praise. The choice is ours.”
Did the invalid want to get well? He had not asked for Jesus’ help. It seems he clung to his illness and blamed it on those around him – a victim of circumstance. “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred,” he said. We don’t know if he had lost the will to be healed, was afraid to lose the income of a beggar, or simply had accepted lameness as his lot in life. In any case, he came face to face with the one who could set him free.
The man never did answer Jesus’ question. Jesus simply said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:1-8). And he did.
Thirty-eight years is a long time to be immobile, and yet, in my own life there were some things that had held me back for the same amount of time. I was paralyzed by feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy because of messages from my past. Then Jesus asked me, “Do you want to get well?”
Satan wants to use our past to paralyze us. God wants to use our past to propel us! The choice is ours. Girlfriend, let’s pick up our mat and walk…better yet, let’s run, leap, and dance for joy!
Dear Lord, it’s a simple question, but sometimes one that is difficult to answer. Yes, I want to get well, but I’m scared at the same time. So I’m taking a deep breath and asking You to make me completely whole: spiritually, mentally, and physically. If there is something in my life I need to change to achieve health, I pray that You will reveal it to me and give me the courage to change.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Can you relate to the man by the pool? Is there any area of your life where you feel “paralyzed?”
How do you think the man’s life was different after his encounter with Jesus?
How has your life been different since your encounter with the Living God?
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s book, . If you would like to learn how to move from the pain of your past into a purposeful future, then this book is for you! We all have scars; it is what we choose to do with them that can change the world.
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