March 24

Do You Want to be Made Well? Part 2

John 5:6-8 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?” 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.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

This man’s non-answer to Jesus’ question will be addressed another time. But for now, let’s simply notice that he gave a combination explanation/excuse for the fact that he hadn’t been healed yet. The eagerness to be healed wasn’t on the surface, or he would have simply answered, “Yes.”

The rest of John 5 tells us that he picked up his bed and walked, and later he was found in the Temple. He didn’t sit there, but moved, and pressed in to God. As discouraged as he might have been, he was clearly willing and happy to move on to the next stage of his life as a healed man.

What did he have to give up? Perhaps a life of begging, and a life of waiting a long time for something that hadn’t yet happened. Since he couldn’t have gotten to the pool on his own for nearly four decades, he was used to depending on others for nearly everything. We can’t know his heart, but we do have a picture of someone moving on and leaving his old life behind.

The question for us is: Do we really want what we’re praying for? Or rephrased, are we ready to receive and act on what we’re praying for? Healing or any similar deliverance can exact a price—we will need to change. If God comes through the way you want to, are you willing to leave your former dependencies? Are you willing to re-define yourself? Can you allow your identity to change to a “normal person” or at least “someone who used to have a problem but doesn’t anymore”?

Have you ordered your life around your weakness or need so much that it would be too much to rearrange everything? Would you be ready to leave every excuse and take on the full responsibilities of life, as this man in John 5 appears to have done?

The world says that familiarity breeds contempt. But familiarity breeds comfort as well, and many of us actually prefer to stay where we are rather than deal with all the change and challenges that answered prayer might bring. Some folks would rather complain than take that new job. Others prefer to remain in their loneliness rather than take on the joy and responsibility of new relationships.

If God heals and delivers you, can you press forward into a new life? If He answers that prayer, are you willing to fully accommodate that change into your life? If He opens that door, are you ready and willing to walk through it?

Some of us are greatly challenged by the confusion over what we might be or would have to do if God really answered our prayer and brought the change we’ve been asking for. Our friend in John 5 picked up his mat and walked. Whatever old mat you may have—weakness, an old identity, or even the entire feel and rhythm of your life—let’s pick it up and walk when the Lord brings what we ask for.

Prayer: Father, thank You for your desire to heal, and that You hear and answer old prayers. Help me to pick up my mat and walk when you answer mine.

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