When Jesus saw him lying there … he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
Picture yourself walking through a hospital, surrounded by sick, hurting and scared people. Some have been recently admitted; others have been there days, possibly weeks. Now imagine walking up to someone who has been there for 38 years and asking him, “Hey, man; do you want to get well?”
As outrageous and insensitive as it sounds, that is exactly what Jesus did.
When He ministered among the sick by the pool of Bethesda, he came upon a lame man who had been there 38 years. He was surrounded by other blind, lame and paralyzed people. Instead of the usual small talk and caring sentiments, Jesus jumped to the core issue: Do you want to get well?
As Omniscient God, Jesus already knew his condition, his history and how long he had been there. None of that was important. Yes, Jesus wanted to heal this man. But he also wanted the man’s complete involvement and personal commitment to his well-being.
See, this man’s peer group could not help him. Their situations were the same. One thing we learn from life is that hurt people hurt people. Seeking help or assistance from the wounded is simply not a wise strategy. This man found that out the hard way. Whenever the healing waters were stirred up, someone else rushed in ahead of him. Their selfish desires clouded their true concern for him.
Sometimes, we restrict our personal well-being by placing ourselves among hurting people.
Oh, they may be fine physically, but they are spiritual, mental and emotional wrecks. They cannot help us get well, but misery loves company. So we commiserate with them. It could be divorced people who are eaten up with bitterness. Or a coworker who was laid off at the same time as you. It could be a group of singles who are unhappy with their lack of potential suitors. It could simply be someone who is happy being unhappy. In those disabled mindsets, we get comfortable in our discomfort and content in our discontent.
Instead of seeking comfort from those who enable our misery or those who have unseasoned, limited life experiences, we need help from outside sources.
This could be those with more life wisdom or expertise in handling our specific struggles. It could possibly include ministers or professional counselors. And if your first response is, Oh, I don’t need professional help; I’m not that bad off, you may wish to reconsider Jesus’ question. Do you really want to get well?
Jesus was that healthy outsider. He had no selfish agenda and could offer His unbiased assistance. From that wholesome, objective perspective, He questioned the man’s desire and determination. He looked past the physical pain and limitation to the spiritual, mental and emotional condition — He looked at the man’s heart.
Aside from medical or psychological conditions requiring intense therapy and professional interaction, most healing comes from choice and determination to change your circumstances.
Spiritually, you can follow God more closely.
Mentally, you can fill your mind with the right thoughts (Philippians 4:8).
Emotionally, you can rely on God to help ease and erase the sources of your pain.
But you have to want to get well.
You have to passionately and resolutely refuse to remain unhealthy.
How do you answer God’s question, Do you want to be well or made whole? What wound in your life is a constant thorn in your side? What past mistake or failure continues to derail your present and restrict your future? What is holding you back from becoming the best version of yourself?
As you consider the answers to these questions, open your heart to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Beware of quenching God’s transforming work in you (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Come to terms with your pain and allow God to remove all bitterness, anger, slander, malice and other mindsets to which you may be clinging (Ephesians 4:31). If you truly want to get well, respond affirmatively to whatever God wants to do in your life. He wants to heal your pain and make you whole. But He will not override your freewill choice.
So His question rings out: Are you willing? Will you let Him heal you?
It is my hope and prayer that you will allow God to free you from whatever is holding you back and lift you to walk in newness of life. Besides, you don’t want to lie around that pool anyway!
Be sure to check back every week and read more from our 9-part series, God Wants To Know.