“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?'” John 5:6
“Do you want to be made well?” How many times have I been asked that question? How many times have I asked that question of others? We may say “yes,” and then continue wallowing in self-pity and self-loathing. I am well aware of this prison. I lived it. Unforgiveness is hard to live with, especially when it is directed at ourselves. So, do we want to be made well? And if so, how?
My sin of abortion left me marred. The behavior that came from that choice had a ripple affect of running in guilt and shame from God for numerous years. All of that running caused more sin and rebellion. Year after year, I laid there and stayed in that prison cell of my own making. It became my home. I mean, how could I leave the comforts of “home.” Many times I thought, “Would there ever come a day when I didn’t feel this way?”
One commentary on John 5:6 stated that this was the only occurrence where Jesus asked a question without being addressed first. Why did He ask that question? It is considered He wanted to awaken the man out of his lethargy and despondency. An invitation into the first step towards his healing. Even when Jesus asked the man that question, the man replied with an excuse to why he couldn’t be healed. He stated in verse 7, “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.” The lame man’s hope in the pool is very similar to our culture today. How many times do we look to everything and everyone else before turning to Jesus for our healing? We go to counselor’s, take meds, go to all different kinds of programs available, all of which is good and God does use those to heal. Yet it often seems healing is continually one step beyond our reach.
Just recently I have heard several people say, “I do not want to feel the pain.” Of course, who likes pain? It is easy to be disinclined to exert ourselves, comfortable in our pain, and tucked into our shame and guilt. I can remember thinking, “What would that look like to be healed from my past?” The pain fit like an old pair of jeans that is hard to part with, yet there are holes in them and desperate in need of repair. I had fallen into the abyss of apathy with no emotions or feelings left. Indifference became normal and apathy a background tempo. All fundamental hope that personal happiness is possible seemed lost. But apathy does not have to have it’s way. We can give apathy the fight of it’s life and change the beat of our life, even though doing so feels like it will take every bit of energy we have left.
I had lived in despondency way too long, I couldn’t imagine what joy, peace and happiness would even begin to look like. To be free, was a foreign concept to me. Would I even recognize myself? I would no longer be a victim. All that attention that I was getting from being a victim would be gone. The familiarity and sense of connection to the guilt and shame would be lost and a new identity found. Who would I even be after being healed?
Tired and wretched after years of living this way, I wanted nothing more than to step into a life of freedom. And stepping forward, moving slowly, the Lord took my hand inviting me to “Rise, take up my bed and walk.”
He asked me again, “Do you want to be made well?” YES I DID. I made a choice to force myself, yes force, to uproot what resided so deep inside and face the pain. Was it easy? NO. But, every minute of pain that I had to go through to be made well was worth it. Jehovah Rapha, my Healer, surgically stitched me back together again and placed His healing balm in my heart, giving me a new heart- a whole heart. He can do the same for you. He is amazing at healing. All it takes is surrender, to say, “Yes! I am ready Lord.” Please accept His invitation and allow Him the opportunity. Your life will never be the same.
“Rise, take up your bed and walk!”
Jesus, thank you for never giving up on us and always there waiting for us to say, “Yes, we want to be made well.” How grateful we are for Your saving grace and Your healing touch. There is nothing like it. We love you Jesus. Amen
What better way to begin the new year then accepting Jesus’ invitation towards wholeness. Jesus is right there with an invitation to heal, whether it is the first step towards healing or you are already on your journey:
Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend healing retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.