After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God asked Adam and Eve a puzzling question, “Where are you?”
The question was not for his benefit for he already knew where they were. The question was asked for their benefit. They needed to stop and reflect upon what they had done and where they were right now – spiritually, relationally and emotionally.
In the New Testament Jesus asks another seemingly puzzling question. He asks a man “Do you want to get well?” (John 5). Seems like a crazy question to ask someone who had been paralyzed for 38 years, lying on a mat, begging his entire life. Why would Jesus ask him if he wanted to get well? Of course he would, wouldn’t he?
Here is where we must stop, press pause and think more deeply or we might gloss over this familiar story and miss what we need to hear.
The man replied, “I can’t, sir. I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
Why didn’t this man answer, “Yes, I want to get well. Please, heal me.” Instead he came up with the reasons or excuses why he was never healed.
I wonder if Jesus asked this man this question because he knew that getting well would mean significant changes in this man’s life. Was he ready for them?
Did he want to learn how to live differently then he always had? For example, he would no longer be entitled to beg for his sustenance. He’d have to find work to do.
What about his friends? As a crippled man, apparently he had no one to put him in the pool. How would that change as an able bodied person?
God has given each of us an incredible and powerful gift – our choices.
We get to choose how we spend our time, what we do with our negative emotions, what we dwell and meditate on and what we don’t, moment by moment, day by day, week by week.
These small choices repeated over time form habits and these habits shape our character and our lifestyles. Sometimes we get so used to being sick, we don’t even realize that we can get well and live differently.
Each week in my coaching and counseling practice I talk with people who are afraid to get well because getting healthy requires changes that they aren’t prepared to make.
They might have to learn to communicate more constructively, give up some bad habits, and/or change the way the see themselves and others as well as learn to think differently.
The apostle Paul refers to this process as “renewing our mind” (Romans 12:2) and “putting off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22,23) Let me ask you the question.
Do you want to get well? God wants to heal you and heal me. He wants us to be whole, holy and happy. But you’re will is involved.
Are you willing?