by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller
“Do you want to be healed?” John 5:6 ESV
Jesus may be asking the most intriguing question ever as he talks to a man waiting to be healed. Our initial reaction is, “Of course he does. Jesus, what are you thinking? Who wouldn’t?”
But the man responds, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going, another steps down before me” (John 5:7 ESV).
The crippled man doesn’t say, “Of course. Can you help?” He gives an explanation. Or is it an excuse?
After thirty-eight years of a debilitating disease, is he comfortable in his situation? What would it mean to be healthy again? Maybe he fears handling the responsibilities of normal life.
I wonder how often Jesus asks us a similar kind of question.
- By allowing frustrating circumstances, he might be asking: “Do you want to give up your disability of discontent?”
- When someone hurts us, is he asking, “Do you want to be emotionally healed by relinquishing your bitterness?”
- If someone takes advantage of us, is he asking, “Will you give up your victim mentality?”
Do we have standard reasons—or are they excuses—for our discontent, anger, and powerlessness? The waters of healing are right before us. Why don’t we jump in?
Jesus is a wise counselor. He knows how to prod the handicapped man’s heart and our own. Our hearts are an open book to him and a mystery novel to us. But he desires to reveal the pages which are stuck together with the glue of sin or fear.
Jesus is prying two pages apart as he gives the man an assignment he can refuse. “Jesus says to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man is healed, and he takes up his bed and walk[s]” (5:8-9 ESV).
We are cheering as he is healed and obeys with no explanations or excuses. Interestingly, Jesus tells him to “take up your bed.” The man couldn’t leave it there as his safety blanket in case he felt bad again.
Many years ago, I didn’t know releasing my unrealistic expectations of my husband, Larry, would be Jesus’s way of asking me to burn my “bed” of bitterness. In our early marriage, Larry worked two jobs and had a flying hobby. He was rarely home and gave little help with our two children, a new-born and a toddler. I wrapped myself in my mat of resentment as a way to protect myself from the pain of his rejection.
My husband says now, “I wrapped myself in my mat of controlling pride thinking Kathy had the problem, not me. In my view Kathy never appreciated my efforts, so I gave up even trying.”
We both at different times and in different ways heard Jesus ask, “Do you want to be healed?” The process of restoration began when we each stopped giving explanations and instead acknowledged our own self-centered spiritual sickness.
We will soon celebrate our 50th anniversary and are more in love with each other and Jesus than ever before.
Although we each will sometimes try to pick up another mat, God persists saying, “Do you want to stay well?”
Adapted from God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature, copyright 2020, Kathy Collard Miller
About the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to study God’s attributes. As a result, her latest two books are devotional books about God’s nature: God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature and God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature.
These are co-authored with her husband, Larry, and make a wonderful couples’ devotional study. Kathy is also the author of 55 other books and has spoken in 9 foreign countries and over 35 US states. Check out her website: www.KathyCollardMiller.com and YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2SwiL03
Join the conversation: Can you identify a time you were clueless to your motives and God prodded your heart to show you?