Whether not wanting to deal with the taste of the liquid or the swallowing of pills, one of my children often refused that which could help their body recover quickly. Their choices often prolonged their illness. I hated it for that child. I would try to coax them asking, "Do you want to get well?" When it came down to it, they wanted their suffering to end, but on their own terms, terms they were comfortable with.
It's funny how you can read a story several times, yet miss the revelation hidden inside. It happened to me a few days ago while reading John 5: As Jesus pulled the veil back to reveal, I saw something I'd never seen before. Like my child, I unknowingly refused that which would set me free from the ailments of my soul.
The story goes like this. Jesus came upon the pool of Bethesda. A man who had been ill for 38 years lay beside it. When Jesus saw him laying there he said, "Do you wish to be well?"
The man answered, "Sir I have no man to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming another steps down before me."
Thirty-eight years this man has been sick and yet he knows no one who can help him into the pool? Seriously? How in the world did he get to the pool in the first place?
Did he want to be well? Really?
There written in the spaces of Jesus' question was the confirmation of what I have been discovering. Self effort gets you no where. Living in my old self trying to make her get to where she needs to be doesn't work. It only prohibits my healing.
I didn't understand that. I thought this walk with God was somehow up to me. Wasn't I supposed to work out my salvation with fear and trembling? Wasn't I somehow supposed to get this life right. I wanted to make God happy with me. I wanted Him to be glad that He had allowed me in. I didn't want to be a disappointment. Therefore, I worked hard to make who I was better.
Something was always missing for me in that life. I was crippled with my shame and brokenness. No matter how much I did, I never knew if it was enough. I had no way to measure. Like the man who lay by the pool I kept trying to get myself into the right place to be made whole.
Once that man acknowledged he couldn't get himself into the pool, Jesus said, "get up, take up your pallet and walk." He allowed the One who spoke this world into existence to be the answer. Immediately he was made whole. Afterwards Jesus told him not to go back to his old life, to leave it be. It's not who he was any longer. Life started anew.
"Do you want to be free from those things that cripple you," Jesus has asked me? "Are you willing to stop living by your efforts so that I can be lived out in you?" "Are you willing to let that old self, you've lived in so long, die?" "Will you allow My resurrected life to be lived through you?
That old self mentality with it's lies, hurts and shame will continue to hold me captive. Yet Jesus offers His life to me, which brings my release. "Jewel, cut the ties with your old self, let her go." "Who you were before you entered into a covenant with me was crucified with me." "Everything started afresh." "I gave you my life." "Now it's Me in you joined together as one."
This story paints quite the picture for me. I cannot get myself where I want or need to be. Jesus died to the requirement of having to live by my abilities. He offers me His perfect life resurrected in me, now.
I'm making my way there, sometimes one baby step at a time. The more desperately I need Him, the more I find, I live. In those moments He comes in totality of who He is and releases me to see what He knows. The old is gone, the new has come.
So, how about you. Do you want to be well?
©copyrighted 2010 Julie L. Todd