He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
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.”
~ John 5:6-7 ~
In a scene from The Horse and His Boy (the fifth book from the Chronicles of Narnia), Shasta, the protagonist (while journeying to Anvard with King Lune), gets left behind and has to make his way in an unknown land during a cold, misty night. It is here that he begins to reflect on the recent events in his life and concludes,
“I do think,” said Shasta, “that I must be the most unfortunate boy that ever lived in the whole world. Everything goes right for everyone except me. . . .”
And being very tired and having nothing inside him, felt so sorry for himself that the tears rolled down his cheeks.
It is in the midst of his lamenting and loneliness and not knowing where he is going, that a frightened Shasta meets Aslan. And, it was in the midst of my lamentations, loneliness, and darkest night, that Jesus met and snapped me out of feeling sorry for myself.
The man at the pool of Bethesda was in a hopeless situation. No one was there to help him get into the pool when the waters were stirred. Jesus came to him, knowing that he had been “in that condition” for 38 years, and asked him, “Do you want to be made well?”
But the man did not understand what Jesus asked him. What is amazing is that Jesus did not respond to the what the man said, but commanded him to,
“Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
And immediately the man was made well,
took up his bed, and walked.
~ John 5:8-9~
The man, upon hearing Jesus’ command to “Rise, take up your bed and walk,” obeyed. What was it about the command that brought immediate obedience?
I think that we, like Shasta and the man at the pool of Bethesda, can get very tired and caught up in our daily struggles. But unlike them, we know Jesus is with us, we know His comfort, we know His love. Still, we can lose sight of Him and end up with “nothing inside” because we forget who is walking beside us and that He knows what is on our minds and hearts.
As it relates to the paralyzed man, I do not know what it was about Jesus that made him obey; what I do know is that sometimes things happen in my life that paralyze and keep me from moving forward and only Jesus can make me well. Yet, I forget that I need to be in a place of stillness so that I can hear His voice and be aware of His presence.
I also forget to be thankful to Him, and that He is my Abba. I need to always have a heart that magnifies, praises, and worships Him with thanksgiving before He helps me rather than after. This is the antidote to feeling sorry for myself, what makes faith grow, keeps me steadfast in Him, and lets me dwell in His peace.
Heavenly Father, there is none like You. You know my innermost being and are at work, transforming and conforming, like a potter on a wheel. May my heart always be thankful, magnify, praise, and worship You. In Jesus’ name, amen.