By SARAH DAVIS
There was a time in my life when these summer days were some of the hardest days of the year. I was 100 miles from home in a remote area of Ohio, surrounded by double razor wire and broken dreams. Beyond the fence, corn fields stretched as far as the eye could see. It felt like an island in the middle of no man’s land.
Every fourth of July, when the sun would go down, I could still hear the explosion of fireworks as people gathered to celebrate. And sometimes from my window, I could even see a peak of explosive color in that dark sky.
I could also hear and see a lifetime of memories in my mind. Memories of my uncle’s annual picnic and the festive red, white, and blue desserts my Mom would make. Or the time a firework shot off in the wrong direction and landed under grandma’s chair. Thankfully, with no injuries.
I could hear the reminder that life was still going on outside those gates.
Today, I am on the other side of that experience. That time in my life is also now a memory, and I no longer have to just sit as an observer of celebrations going on around me. But to be honest, the journey to healing and participating in life again has been harder than I anticipated.
There is a story in John chapter five about a man laying by a pool who has been paralyzed for thirty-eight years.
This paralyzed man laid by the pool day after day because the belief was that the pool contained healing powers and that if he were just able to get into the water, he would be healed. Jesus approaches him and asks him, “Do you want to be made well?”
It seems like a ridiculous question, right? To be paralyzed for thirty-eight years and to be asked if he wants to be made well? There is a more significant point at work here. Don’t miss it.
The man answers with an excuse. The hard truth? Sometimes we don’t want to be made well. Along the way, we learn to accept things as they are, and dysfunction becomes the new normal that we just learn to live with. We settle with sitting as an observer of the life we could have. A life that is free of all that enslaves us.
I have done this in many ways in my own life. One time I waited two years to see a doctor for the pain I was having on the bottom of my foot. A foot that I use daily for walking! Deep sigh.
In my present-day life, I work as an advocate and mentor for those in the correctional system, and I see this concept as a commonality among those incarcerated. Women and men who have accepted poverty, crime, addiction, abuse, and dehumanization as their lot in life.Without a disruption in that thought, prisons will remain a revolving door.
I have also met many people in the free world who are equally bound. Without an encounter with Jesus and a disruption in thought pattern, the things that make us unwell will remain. Things like toxic relationships. Low self-worth. Insecurity. Fear. Addiction. Shame. Every sort of emotional and spiritual bondage you can name.
There is so much more to life. There is healing, wholeness, and abundant life in Christ.
As a side note, I have yet to see a night sky as beautiful as the ones I saw while surrounded by that double razor wire. It was like a canvas of crushed diamonds with a black velvet backdrop. But I only noticed it when I looked away from everything that was around me and believed there was so much more to the world than what I currently saw
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT In this scripture in John chapter 5, we see Jesus extending an invitation to this man to participate in his own healing. First, by recognizing whether or not he really wants to be made well and secondly, by surrendering the need to Jesus. The man is not as helpless as he may have previously imagined. If you are reading this today and it applies to you, I pray that the lies you have bought into that life have to be this way will be disrupted and shattered. Take a moment and think about that area in your life and invite Jesus to bring healing.To
PRAYER Father, I thank you that You love me too much to leave me as I am. I thank You for the reminder in Philippians 1:6, “That he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV). Please renew my mind today to the truth that You are my healer. “For I am the Lord, who heals you” Exodus 15:26 (NIV). Thank You for that truth in my life. Amen.
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