See Luminosity

Do You Want to Get Well?

Do You Want to Get Well?

Pity Party

It has been a week of abundant stress and limited resources. In so many areas, the “not working out” has outweighed the “going the way I want it”, “not enough” has seemed to outweigh the abundance, and disappointment has outweighed hope. It’s been the kind of week that makes me soul weary and makes me feel like I have permission to feel sorry for myself.

Sometimes I’m all about self pity.

Yes, the kind that I just want to languish in for a while and brood, staring at the pool of hope and joy in front of me that I can see but just can’t seem to reach.

Jesus dealt with a person like that.

Except this person wasn’t an educated stay-at-home parent who lived in a house with two floors and a big yard and whose biggest daily challenge was how to effectively teach her children and who had three sumptuous meals on the table every day plus dessert and got to go on vacation to the beach in two weeks and showered every day under the best shower head on the planet.

No, this person was a man who should have been given a free ticket to a pity party.

Disabled. Dirty. Destitute. An invalid, who begged by the pool in Bethesda, hoping for compassion from the rich or help into the waters that were supposed to cure, this man had been, as John chapter 5 puts it, “in this condition for a long time”. How long, exactly?

38 years.

That’s as long as this rich, blessed, self-focused girl has been alive.

A lifetime of desolation and hopelessness, lying next to what he thought was the answer to make it all better – but chronically unable to get there.

I have felt, at times, like that has been me.

The Question

Scripture tells us that Jesus sees this man. And asks him a question. And it’s a question that cuts to every self-pitier’s soul:

“Do you want to get well?”

What?

Does he want to get well? Of course he does. He’s disabled. And destitute. And hopeless. He is pitied by everyone and miserable and helpless, and…

Do I want to get well?

Hold on. Let’s stick with the guy at the pool.

The Answer

Funny. The guy doesn’t answer Jesus’ question. You’d almost think a sardonic, “Duh, of course I want to get well!” or “Um, yeah?!” would be in order from this guy. But instead, the man gives an excuse for why he hasn’t yet been healed: that he has no one to help him into the pool.

But that’s not what Jesus asked.

Jesus didn’t want to know why the man hadn’t been healed. He wanted to know if the man wanted to be healed.

I see it in myself – the self-pitying, paralyzed invalid, continually putting hope in the wrong place, giving the Lord excuses for why I haven’t been able to get well yet. And I see Him ask, “Do you want to get well?”

Why does He ask?

Isn’t it obvious that I do? Who doesn’t want to get well?! I want my hurts to be soothed and my problems to be solved and my path to be smooth like that pool of hope. I want…I want…

To get well? Or to just…

feel well?

Oh.

Ay.

There’s a difference.

Yes, there it is. No wonder Jesus asks the question, because the answer gets to the heart of whether or not we can be healed. Jesus doesn’t ask if we want to feel well. He asks if we want to be well. And, sometimes, it takes not feeling well to get to the place where we will allow the Lord to do what is necessary for true healing to occur.

The Healer

Whether from legitimate reasons or convenient excuses, healing had remained, for the man at Bethesda, just out of reach, for a very long time.

That is, until Jesus showed up.

Jesus bypassed the man’s object of hope – the pool of healing – all together. Instead, he told the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!”. Healing came not from what the man could see, from what the man thought was the cure, but from the Lord. And it came as the man acted out of obedience and faith – shifting the focus of his hope from what he understood to the Messiah trying to change his world.

Healing came from making the choice to get up out of faith, in spite of the pain, take up the mat, and walk with the Lord to experience His restorative power.

It’s the same way we are healed.

Getting Well

I’ve got many pools of hope. Additional income from a promotion, a nutritional clinic in New York, the addition of a healthy baby to our family…and the self-pity takes over when, no matter how hard I try, I can’t get into the waters.  But that’s not surprising, because none of those pools really have any true power to cure, anyway. Even if I were immersed in them, they would only cleanse the wound for a time, and the illness at the core would still spread until…

the source of the ailment is rehabilitated by the One who created me. The One who asks, “Do you want to get well?”

He doesn’t ask, “Do you want your circumstances to improve?”. Not “Do you want to have your pain removed?”. Not “Do you want me to help you get into the pool?”. Not “Do you want to feel well?”.

The question is, “Do you want to be well, My kind of well, regardless of how you feel?”

It’s a question for all of us – every day. Do we put our faith and hope in Him, and are we willing to pick up our mat and take up our cross and walk, with Him, wherever He takes us, no matter how hard it is, in order to be really, fully, wholly cured?

Am I?

I know this, I don’t want to be the one left, paralyzed, staring at a pool of impotence.

Guess this means I’ve got to give up my pity party.

 

One Response to “Do You Want to Get Well?”

  1. Kristin says:

    You said it all really well. Jesus sees through it all and He’s interested in the real healing. It seems difficult sometimes to realize the powerlessness of the “pools” we’ve had our eyes on, but it’s such a treasure to realize the power for our healing comes directly from the One who has redeemed and who holds us. And He is willing.

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