“Of course anyone who has been lame for 38 years and who has been waiting by the pool all that time to be healed has clearly shown he wants to be healed!”
Until last week, that had always been my response to the question Jesus asked the lame man by the pool.
But as I studied John 5:1-15 this past week, I’ve come to realize that the question’s purpose was not to discover what the man wanted. Rather it was intended to get the man to focus not on his problem but on his long-time response to the problem.
Stay with me here.
Instead of responding to the question, the man explains that he’s had nobody to carry him to the pool; in other words, he focuses the spotlight on the physical resources he lacks.
Which led me to ponder my own response to the two big problems I’m facing, one of which I’ve struggled with for over 20 years, and the other almost 15.
In all honesty, like the lame man by the pool, I have for the most part looked to human solutions! I have counted on either my own plans or the actions of others to fix both situations.
You see, I’ve always been more of a “God helps those who help themselves” (which cannot be found in the Bible, btw) type of person than a “take it to God, trusting in His perfect plan” gal. Oh, I pray about my problems, but in the past, prayer has all too often been a last resort, an act of desperation.
So have I now decided to simply offer a fervent prayer and then try valiantly to put both issues out of my mind? Not at all.
Because in response to the man’s explanation, Jesus tells him to get up, grab his mat, and walk!
And that leads me to what I believe I need to do (and should have been doing all along). I believe my job is two-fold.
One, I’m to discuss with God what my problems are and even humbly share with him how I would prefer He respond.
Second, I’m to “get up, grab my mat, and walk”. In other words, I’m to trust God (and that He is at work) so completely that I take my eyes off the problem and focus on the business of living the life He has given me in a way that pleases and glorifies Him.
Will that be easy? Probably not. I have a lifetime of problem-solving habits to break and a new mindset to develop.
But doable and worth it? Absolutely!
What about you? As you deal with the inevitable problems of life, how are you responding? On what are you focusing?
(Photo courtesy https://unsplash.com/@pierrejeanneret)