Friday, February 5, 2010

Do You Want to Get Well?

“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time in that condition, He said to him,

“Do you want to get well?”

In John 5, Jesus asks this seemingly strange question of a crippled man found lying by the pool of Bethesda. The pool was a place where those who were sick or lame would gather because it was believed that from time to time, an angel would come and stir the waters of the pool and the first one to enter the water thereafter would be healed.

I’m sure to those who were familiar with the scene “at the pool” in those days, Jesus asking the man if he wanted to be healed was, in a sense, like asking him to state the obvious. “Of course, I want to be healed, I’m here aren’t I?” But Jesus of course, has the ability to move beyond the obvious assumption and delve straight into the man’s heart. “Do you WANT to be healed?”

Jesus knew the man had been crippled for quite some time. Scripture tells us it was 38 years to be exact! We can also assume that because the man was in this condition, he did not just appear beside the pool without some sort of help to get him there in the first place. Someone had obviously helped him to get to the pool with the hope that the water there might heal him. The lame man’s answer is really quite revealing.

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

In my book, those are the words of someone with an attitude of defeat. It’s almost as if his being at the pool at this point in time is his just going through the motions. Due to the number of years he has been afflicted and through the actions of others and his own past failures, he has in essence deemed himself “helpless,” probably even “hopeless.”

I think there are a lot of people with the same attitude these days when it comes to money. Many have been living in a crippling financial situation for so many years that they can’t even fathom life being any different. Many see debt as part of life. They see no other choice but to live paycheck to paycheck. What other way is there?

We’ll never be able to get out of debt, what’s the point of even trying?” “I’ve tried living on a budget and it just doesn’t work for me.” “Every time I try to put a little bit of money away, something always comes up.”

The truth is, that the situation described in John 5 is very apropos to many of our situations today. We can get so used to living "crippled," and so “beaten down” by our own past failures that we become complacent. We become trapped by what we see as our own limitations.

Jesus doesn’t want us to live according to those limitations. He wants us to live HIS ECONOMY.

"With God all things are possible."

Matthew 19:26

If we are to live in HIS economy, it requires a paradigm shift on our part. “Do you want to get well?”

What Jesus is really asking is, “Are you willing to do what it takes to get well?” “Are you willing to forget what’s happened in the past and TRUST me?” “Are you ready to do things MY way?”

Jesus didn’t accept the man’s excuses. His past failed attempts were of no interest to him. He already knew about all of them. Jesus was really asking if the man was ready to be healed. I think if we could have heard the intonation of Jesus’ question that day, we would have heard him in essence saying, “Are you ready to be healed, because your life won’t be the same from this point forward.”

And scripture tells us that he just gave the crippled man a command… “Pick up your mat and walk.”

Again, the same thing applies to our financial situations today. We may feel like we have tried everything we can think of to help ourselves. We may feel like other people are the cause of our problems and we may feel like it all is just out of our control. But Jesus is the same today as yesterday. We just have to make the decision that we’re ready. We must make the decision that we will obey his instruction because we are no longer doing things in our own power, but IN HIS!

It starts with a decision.

Will we continue to do the same things expecting different results and remain crippled, or will we get in the presence of Jesus and decide to pick up our mats and walk?

To be continued…



Jessica Faith said...

very encouraging - i need to remember to forget what's in the past and trust HIM - to get well. P.S. i'm only a teenager and i don't really deal with finances,etc. yet :) but i love reading your blog!! :)
thanks for the timely encouragement!

Warren Baldwin said...

I remember the first time I was struck by Jesus question to the crippled man "Do you want to get well?" Why would he ask a question like that?, I wondered. Then I realized - not everyone really wants to get well, or, as in your effective application, out of debt. We get so used to our sickness (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and our financial "illness" as well, that it almost becomes comfortable to us. We need Jesus prodding question, and we need to answer, "Yes!" Good post.

Edie said...

Very well put Stacy. We become so accustom to living in debt that when we do begin to make attempts at becoming debt-free, we find it requires a little effort on our part.