Do You Want to Get Well?

It's been awhile since I've blogged but this morning I read something that struck me with the kindness, the gentleness and love of God. I know people who deeply struggle with the conflict between the God who loves and the God who judges. Frequently, I hear "I hope you're right about how God loves." And often I don't have much to offer except feeble attempts to point at scripture and show how tender, caring and kind our Jesus is.

I was reading this morning in the book of John, and this passage struck me. Chapter 5:5-6.
One who was there [at the pool at the city gate full of ill, paralyzed, lame and blind, Bethesda] had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked "Do you want to get well?" "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me get into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes ahead of me." Then Jesus said to him, "Get Up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; He picked up his mat and walked. 

Jesus goes to this man, who had been living in his illness, making excuses for his malady, making excuses for why he would never get better. There are a lot of people in this broken world who use excuses to escape healing. "This is just who I am." "But those people hurt me..." "I'm a victim of abuse/mistreatment/etc" There are a lot of ways we make excuse for the brokenness, the damage within our hearts. And Jesus is asking us "Do you want to get well?" Instead of an answer, we give excuse to Jesus, just like the invalid.

It's a beautiful thing, Jesus' response. It's urgent. It's inexplicably kind and tender, but still urgent. "Get up!" He tells him. In a way, I hear Jesus saying "Get over your excuses and walk." Move! And Jesus healed him enough to get up and walk! That's love. The man didn't even want to be healed. Or couldn't even say he wanted to, because he'd been living in excuse for so long. So what did Jesus to? Healed him anyway. Then prompted him to MOVE. And the lame man, full of excuses....did as he was told and picked up his mat and walked.

Jesus' interactions with the broken and hurting can teach us so much. I'm thankful for stories like this.


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