Do you want to be made well?

Do I want to be made well?

Seems as if it should have such an obvious answer that it doesn’t bear asking. Doesn’t it?

Shouldn’t it be a quick resounding yes! I guess the quick answer at the shallow end of the pool is easily yes, before plunging into those deeper spots, before exposing those deep roots.
Absolutely, I don’t want this illness.
I can’t wait for this issue to heal so I can resume “normal life”.
I am so ready for them to figure out a cure for this {fill in the blank} disease.
I no longer want to cling to fear and insecurity and rejection and control… I want to give up those things and be whole.

Oh wait…
Sure, it seems a rhetorical question with an obvious answer, but if that is so, why did Jesus ask?

Do you want to be made well? NKJV
Do you want to get well? NIV
Would you like to get well? NLT
Do you want to be healed? ESV
Do you desire to become well? BLB
Wilt thou be made whole? KJV

Yes!  Of course I want to be made well. I want to get well.  I would like to get well.  I want to be healed.  I desire to become well. I want to be made whole!  Don’t I?  Don’t you?

It has really caused me to pause.  When I plunge a bit deeper, where my fears and my insecurities and my anxieties and problem solving nature kick in, I want to take care of it myself.  I have the perfect solution.  Yes, I want my brokenness fixed, but if I am going to be completely honest, I want it fixed on my terms, at my pace, my way. I want my disease, my brokenness, my situation, my fears and insecurities, my hurts made well, but what will it take? I want these parts to not be this way, but can I hold on to this little piece? I’m rather attached to this little piece of unwell me.

made well aug 2016

What do I have to give up to be made whole? 

Myself.

Take, for example, the woman I wrote about in my previous post titled Desperation, she wanted to be well and sought after it with everything she had, risking death; she was made whole. Prior to that point, she was, in fact, desperate and wanted healing at whatever cost.  Do we?  Will we sacrifice anything, will we sacrifice ourselves to become whole? Will we give up our right to be healed on our terms, in our timing, in our way?  Will we give up our right to be right? What are we willing to sacrifice for wholeness?

The following story has been pressing on my heart lately. It comes from a recounted story of Jesus’ encounter with a disabled person at a pool called Bethesda, which means house of mercy. John 5:1-15 takes place some time after He had healed an official’s son in Galilee, his second sign after coming from Judea to Galilee.

The Healing at the Pool

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, Do you want to be made well?

Let me stop there for a minute. Why would Jesus ask that? For up to 38 years, this man had been carried or otherwise found his way and eventually apparently slept there in a bed at the fancy porches of the “house of mercy” pool in hopes he would be healed. He lay among a “great multitude of sick people, blind people, lame people, and paralyzed people”, each focused on their own disability, no doubt. Thirty eight years is a long time to have an infirmity (some translations call him an invalid) and sit by this highly acclaimed miraculous pool waiting to be healed. Of course he wants to be made well, right?  It’s such a simple question.  Yes or no?  Do YOU want to be made well?? His response:

The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

There it is.  The excuse. The blame-shifting.  He didn’t even answer Jesus’ question! Granted, he had no clue it was Jesus asking, but still.  I am all alone, he says. No one helps me to the pool, he accuses.  I can’t do it all by myself, he moans. When he tries on his own, someone always beats him to it, he declares.

It’s not my fault. I’ve done my part. I’m here; aren’t I?  I obviously want to be made well, but… I have all these excuses.  If I am made well, what will I do with my time? Where will I go each day? Not only is this man an “invalid”, he feels in-valid.  He feels somehow that he is being robbed of this blessing. If only he had someone to help him.  If only someone didn’t beat him to the blessing first. For 38 years, this man has been a prisoner of this thinking that he is in-valid, passed over, unimportant, alone. I suspect he has reached a point where he thinks he cannot be made well.

 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

This man was made well after 38 years and is walking! It’s a miracle! He should be praising this man before him, who happens to be Jesus, for the miracle that happened in his life.  Instead… immediate attack.

And that day was the Sabbath.  The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”

The group referred to here as “the Jews” did not proclaim, “Praise God!!  This man who was with infirmity for 38 years is walking!!”, but rather insinuated, ‘you horrible rule breaker!‘ Then, this man who is in the habit of being infirmed, who has grown accustomed to blaming others for his prolonged condition, who has had no one until the very point Someone came and healed him, immediately falls into old habits.

He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’

It’s that Man’s fault,  you know the one that changed my life forever, healed me of a lifelong illness, made me well.  He’s to blame!  The man had no one and now he has Someone who has just changed his life forever, yet, the man who was cured broke the rule because of Him that cured him. That Healer told me to pick up my bed and “work  on the Sabbath. That is a far cry from “thank You.”

Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

Even though accused instead of thanked, Jesus sought this man out.  Jesus urged this man to see.  See what has happened??  You have been made well!  Open your eyes, sir.  You have been freed from the chains of bondage to illness and blame and abandonment and rejection and helplessness.  Jesus had done that! Jesus found this man in the temple (since he no longer needed to hang out by the pool) and urged him to change from his ways.  Stop those habits.  Be free.  See that you are well.  Be well.

The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

And instead of seeing, the man, the healed man chose to go against Jesus and told those Jews exactly who they could blame for his being made well and carrying his mat on the Sabbath.  The man stepped right back into bondage.  I believe he did answer the question Jesus asked at the beginning of the encounter.  “Do you want to be made well?”

No, I don’t believe he did WANT to be made well.  I believe he had grown quite comfortable in his unwellness in his 38 years of infirmity.

We have this opportunity to be freed from the bondage and hurt and the brokenness that would keep us trapped in our infirmity. We have this opportunity to seize all that is offered: complete wholeness.  Just answer the question.  I am choosing YES! I want to be made whole.  I want to be made well. REALLY.  I want to change my habits. I want my heart changed to match His.  I want to allow me to see myself as whole, give up myself and my right to be right.  I desire to be made well.  It is a choice.

I pray you choose the same.  Wilt thou be made whole?

Hugiés,
Jenn

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