“Get up and walk.”
These are the words I hear God whispering over me tonight as I kneel before Him in surrender.
Get up and walk.
In John chapter 5, when Jesus was in Jerusalem, He came across a crippled man sitting by the pool of Bethseda.
Now, I don’t know a whole lot about this pool, except that those who sought healing would come to these waters.
Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to get well?” And of course the crippled man wanted to be healed, but no one would help him into the water and he couldn’t get there on his own.
Jesus, knowing the desires of this man’s heart and his longing to be made well, said, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.” And guess what happened? Immediately, the man was made well.
You may be wondering to yourself….so what? What does a story of a crippled man have to do with me today?
Well, last Sunday in church, my pastor reminded us that every single miracle Jesus did had a purpose. It wasn’t just about the healing, it was about the Healer.
You see, like the crippled man, we all have been crippled at some point in our lives. Maybe many of us are still crippled today. We try to find something that will make us well, something that will heal us, something we can hope in.
This man was hoping in the pool.
And like the man, we hope in many things. It differs by person. Some of us place our hope in our own ability to make ourselves well. We think, “I can do better tomorrow” or “I just have to try harder and then I’ll be happier.”
Yet we can never heal ourselves.
Some of us look to other people to make us well. And then we place so much pressure on the people around us because we want them to fill the void in our hearts. Yet they can never heal us.
And some of us look to careers and goals and possessions to make us well. We think, “I’m not really happy now, but in the future, when I have ____ career or _______ house or _____ whatever, then I’ll be happy.”
But friends, these things will never make us well.
Like the crippled man, we may be able to edge our way a little closer to the pool, but we’ll always be one step away.
The crippled man’s story looks hopeless at first. But then Jesus enters the picture. And isn’t that the same for all of us? Our stories are hopeless until Jesus holds the pen.
Jesus saw the man’s heart. He saw his desperate desire to be healed. And Jesus healed him.
The man no longer had any reason to run to the pool because He had found the One who could make him well. He was healed then and there. On the spot. Immediately.
Now, I want you to think about something. Do you think Jesus would have healed the man if he didn’t want to be healed? If he had simply replied, “no” would Jesus have left him crippled?
Well, I obviously can’t say for sure. But I imagine that Jesus would have left that man crippled if he truly didn’t want to be made well. And I imagine that Jesus leaves us crippled if He sees that we don’t truly want to be healed.
We have to remember, Jesus knows our hearts.
I confess to you that there have been times in my life when I prayed a prayer of surrender but never let go. I knew what I wanted and I didn’t want Jesus to change that. So I prayed, but my words were empty because He who searches our hearts knew mine.
But God is faithful. And He will help us in our stubbornness.
He is more than willing to come and set us free from our sinful nature if we so desire. But if we secretly don’t want to be set free, then why would we expect Him to heal us? If we “surrender” everything into His hands, but aren’t really willing to stop clinging to it, He knows.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be crippled. I don’t want to cling to what God calls me to surrender. I don’t want to be enslaved to sin, when God calls me to repentance.
So friends, when you find yourselves sitting by the pool and Jesus calls out to you, you have a decision to make. You can either turn to Jesus or turn to whatever this world has to offer. There is no in-between.
But if we turn to Him with a genuine desire to be set free, He WILL heal us. He WILL make us new. He WILL carry even the most tender desires of our hearts for us so we don’t have to worry about them. He WILL set us free to trust without limits. He WILL. This is what we see in this story of the crippled man. This is what I’ve witnessed in my own life. When we come to Jesus and surrender our fears, our dreams, our hopes, our selves, our everything, He WILL work all things together for our good. He WILL set us free and enable us to walk closer to Him. He WILL because He is good. And He draws near to us when we draw near to Him.
Come to the Living Water and be healed.