I was going to write a completely different blog post but I felt led to write this one instead. I had a small moment of revelation while reading John 5 this afternoon. If you're not familiar, the chapter opens with Jesus in Jerusalem kicking it at this healing pool. All around the pool are sick people disabled by a number of diseases. They all laid around this particular pool because every now and then, an angel of the Lord would come down to the pool, stir up the water and if you got in, you would be healed.
There was a man by the pool who had been lying on the same mat, never moving, for thirty-eight years.
"When Jesus noticed him lying there (helpless), knowing that he had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, 'Do you want to get well?'
This verse, to me, speaks to the nature of Jesus, who He is and what He's about. Jesus saw this man, He noticed him. Have you ever felt like you were suffering for years and no one noticed you? I promise you, Jesus notices. He noticed and had compassion on this man and could have healed him at that particular moment in time but instead He asked him if he wanted to get well. God loves us but He doesn't force us to do or receive anything, He always gives us a choice. There seems to be a misconception about the Lord, that He forces us to do things, that we don't have the ability to do what we want, but what He actually gives us is true freedom. He has what we want ready and waiting for us but He still asks, so that He doesn't remove the option to choose something else.
So, initially, the man doesn't even say 'yes, I want to be healed', he makes an excuse for why he hasn't been able to get healed. He actually blames it on other people. He says to the Messiah, 'I don't have anyone to put me in the pool!' He'd been sick and lying in the same place for nearly forty years and his immediate answer wasn't 'YES!'
I believe that often times, we surrender to our circumstances instead of surrendering to the promises of God. Even before Jesus came to the pool that day, the man knew it was possible to be healed. He had seen literal ANGELS come down and heal people in the pool. But when asked if he wanted to be healed, he was so discouraged and jaded that he couldn't explicitly say yes.
I think sometimes we have seen so many people around us walk into miracles, into love, into opportunities and healing and instead of being encouraged and knowing that if it can happen for someone else, it can happen for us, we become discouraged and start to believe the LIE that we must not deserve it, we must not be doing enough, or that we need someone else, a 'plug' to have what we want. But, God is the ultimate plug.
After the man makes his excuses, instead of Jesus walking away from the man and leaving him in his current condition because he didn't make clear what he wanted, He said to him 'get up, pick up your pallet and walk.' Jesus pursues him again, telling him exactly what to do. He laid it out in front of him. He explicitly tells him what it is that he can do now if he wants. In an instant, the man was not only able to walk but he was made whole.
The Amplified version says that this series of events happened:
- He became well (he was made whole)
- He recovered his strength
- He picked up his bed
- He walked
I think there are times where we don't allow ourselves a recovery period. Something or someone may now be gone from our lives but there is debris left behind and restoration that still needs to happen. Sometimes our lives need some physical therapy, the cast is off but we have to retrain our limbs on how to move after being sedentary. We may have learned something new, but we still need time to process and practice it. That way, we don't simply forget it but we walk through life sharing with others how we got through it, carrying a reminder of freedom with us always.
When the man comes across a group of Pharisees later that day and they ask him why he's carrying his bed, 'he answered them, The Man who healed me and gave me back my strength was the One who said to me, 'pick up your pallet and walk.'
He told the Pharisees that not only did Jesus heal him but he also gave him his strength back. That is who he listened to, that's who I need to listen to, those who restore me and give me strength. Not the chatter of others who have no hope or people are skeptical about the endless possibilities there are in Christ. Don't listen to people who you know have no hope or faith, don't engage, even with yourself about things that require a mindset that is limited.
There are no limits to what God can do.
There are no limits to what God has already done.
When the Pharisees questioned Jesus working on the Sabbath, He said to them, 'My Father has worked (even) until now, (He has never ceased working; He is still working and I too, must be at (divine) work.
God is working on your behalf, even when you aren't, even when you're resting, even when you make excuses. He is constantly rerouting the promises back to you. I want to encourage you to stop looking to others to provide the promise. Stop wanting things that you already have according to the Word of God. When you hear yourself saying something that is the antithesis of what God is saying, stop yourself, come out of agreement with it. Agree with Him and only Him.
Later in this chapter, Jesus shares that He couldn't do anything without the Father, that means I can't either, nor can you. In John 12, He shares that God even told Him what to say. Are the things you're saying about yourself, your life, your circumstances, things God told you to say?
I know this is not always the case for me. This week, I had to really sit down and reassess my thoughts and ask myself if I was truly operating in the mindset of a daughter of Most High. I found myself making statements about circumstances that I have created instead of remembering that I have life in abundance and the possibilities are endless. I hope you remember too.