Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
John 5: 1-9 (NIV)
So here we are moving through summer and heading none too soon toward the cooler temperatures of the fall of 2017. As we reflect on that for a moment, I wonder if we’re on track to accomplish all the things we had in mind to do for the year.
If so, good; but it gives me pause to wonder if maybe we set our goals too low. How high did we set our dreams? Maybe we set our dreams just high enough for us to accomplish them—in our power. But did we crank God and God’s power into the equation—perhaps needing to set them much higher?
Maybe we believe it’s about what we alone can accomplish. Do we have enough faith to take leap after leap believing, or being willing to believe, that with God we can dream bigger? What’s neat about setting our dreams beyond our own limits is that even if we fall short, we fall short well beyond where our lesser dreams would have taken us.
In the passage above we see Jesus arriving in Jerusalem and finding His way to the Sheep Pool, called Bethesda. Beneath the pool there were underground springs which every now and then bubbled up and disturbed the surface of the waters. It was believed the waters had curative powers, because it was believed the disturbance was caused by an Angel, and that the first person to get into the pool after the movement of the waters would be healed from any illness that afflicted them.
Here lay a great number of the crippled, blind, and paralyzed waiting for some movement of the waters, shuffling sounds of needy, hurting people struggling to get into the water just as it began to bubble and move a bit.
Here also lay a certain man; one who has been an invalid for thirty-eight years. As an invalid he stares a bleak future in the face. After all he’s already been by that pool waiting to get in at just the right time for the last thirty-eight years. Sympathy, it seemed, was the only prescription the community could dispense, and he probably dispensed enough of it himself in the daily pity parties he threw for himself, after he missed yet another opportunity to get into the bubbling waters. In his illness he had become a prisoner of his own despair.
There he sits, and the scripture says that Jesus saw him. That is the Good News of the Gospel. Jesus sees and cares for that one person, whether it is Nicodemas, the woman at the well, or any one of us. Jesus was never impressed by a crowd, whatever its size, and never let it get in the way of the one who desperately needed Him.
And Jesus asks the man an interesting question.
He asks: “Do you want to be made well?”
The question seems unnecessary to us. Why wouldn’t he? Wouldn’t we? Or would we? I mean, why not just say: “Hey, sit tight, let me heal you.”
But Jesus not only saw a person who couldn’t move around, he also saw a person full of excuses and defenses that had grown through thirty-eight years. He lived life in his own rut, setting his own limits and never dreaming beyond them.
And so the man responded by saying:
“Oh, but I can’t; my problem is that I have no one to help me into the pool at just the right moment. They never seem to show up; they’re always late.”
There he was confronted with the Healer of healers, and instead of recognizing that renewing power before him, he whined: “You see it’s not my fault that I’m still this way; my friends have let me down.” Instead of “yes” when facing a choice for Christ; his response was more excuses.
When was the last time you asked God to do something you couldn’t do?
When was the last time you asked God for something bigger than you could possibly do in your own ability and power?
Why haven’t you? Why not step way out in faith in the God who created it all? Why not ask the God who sees you and stand’s ready to help?
I would venture to say that there are vast untapped areas of your life that have never been turned loose before. I’ll bet that it’s very possible that no one knows who you really are, or what you’re really capable of, no one that is, except the God who created you. Maybe you’re struggling with a challenge which just popped up on the path before you, or you’re anxious about an illness that has just impacted your life.
Why not turn God loose to do something really big and really incredible for you? You never know until you ask Him—as He stands there in front of you waiting. Why not?
What big dream do you have? What big thing have you been afraid to ask God to do for you, and to help you with? What concern do you need help with?
Ask God to make it happen, to help, and then be ready. And with Him keep moving into a brand new season of your life—with the God who was, and always will be, there for you.