By KRISTAN DOOLEY
As Jesus traveled through Jerusalem to attend a Jewish festival he encountered a paralyzed man in need of healing. It was normal for people with a disability to lay near the pool – the blind, lame and paralyzed – because it was believed that when the water was stirred the first one to enter the pool would receive the healing they desperately desired. This man, in particular, had spent thirty-eight years alongside the pool hoping to, just once, be the first one in.
Jesus saw the man there, sitting in brokenness. Looking deeply into his eyes, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6, NIV.) Without even hesitating the man responded with an excuse. “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else always goes down ahead of me” (John 5:7, NIV.)
Jesus looked intently at him and said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!” (John 5:8, NIV.) At once the man was healed. He no longer needed someone to help him into the pool; he stood before the ultimate healer himself. The healing he searched for didn’t come from the cool water below him; it came from encountering the Jesus in front of him. Jesus was in town; which meant he had everything he needed to be healed right there!
Jesus changed the crippled man’s perspective. He showed him the truth behind the healing he sought. It wasn’t about what was broken, it was about who was fixing it. The most effective thing I can do in moments of brokenness is stop analyzing what’s wrong with me or my circumstances and make eye contact with whose right. In other words, I need to repent, to turn around and face a new way. Without repentance, I stay locked in place.
What if I told you Jesus stands behind you, waiting? That what you have been looking for is one turn away? Jesus comes asking, “Do you want to be made well?” Our answers show in our movements. We answer with what we do. Jesus isn’t looking for a, “yes, but.” He is looking for a change in direction.
“Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do” (Jas. 1:8, NIV).
Ouch! No way do I ever want to come across as divided between the things of this world and the things of God. My loyalty lies with God, but so often, with my inability to turn to Him when dealing with my brokenness, my loyalty becomes divided.
Early the other morning I texted my friend Dana, “I’m not sure what’s going on, but I feel heavy inside. Will you please pray for me this afternoon while we are together.”
A few hours later we sat together in a meeting. Once the meeting ended and the room cleared, I confessed what I thought the problem was. “I feel like God has asked me to take every thought captive. I cannot allow the enemy to run rampant with what’s going through my mind about the future and things I cannot control.”
“That sounds right,” she said, “tell me how you are doing that?”
“I’m noticing the direction of my thinking and putting a stop to the thoughts that are not uplifting,” I answered her, “but it’s not going away, the heaviness, it’s still there,” I said with big tears running down my cheeks.
She put her hand on my leg, “I wonder if you are supposed to do a little more than just stop the thoughts.” She kept talking but my mind immediately went somewhere else. That was it! That was exactly what I needed to hear. God was trying to get my attention. He asked me to receive healing concerning my thoughts. I had turned, but I hadn’t turned all the way. I was the crippled man sitting by the pool recognizing healing was available, yet not actively embracing it. Once again, I chose to look up toward Jesus and healing.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT Our Father has an unlimited supply of patience. He is not worn out by our strong will. He stands right behind us, arms out, extending healing. If you aren’t sure, take a minute and notice Him. Stand or sit still, really still. Take a deep breath. Breathe in and breathe out slowly. Do you feel Him? Is He there, right behind you, arms out, extending healing? How is He asking you to respond? Don’t feel Him? That’s okay, too. Continue to create space to be still and invite His presence in. He promises that those who seek Him, find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). In time, you will hear His voice, and it will feel like healing and freedom.
PRAYER Thank You Father for Your presence. Thank You for Your grace, for Your mercy. Thank You that my healing is not too much for You. Help me today to take my eyes away from my limitations and focus instead on Your invitation for healing. Pull me to my feet and move me toward Your mercy. I love you and I need you. Amen!