Do You Want to Get Well?
by Leslie Vernick
God asked Adam and Eve an interesting question while they were hiding in the Garden of Eden after they ate the forbidden fruit. He asked them, “Where are you?” The question was not for his benefit (he already knew where they were) but 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 John 5, Jesus asks someone another perplexing question. He asks a paralyzed man “Do you want to get well?” Seems like a crazy question to ask someone who had been paralyzed for 38 years, lying on a mat, begging for sustenance his entire life. Why would Jesus ask him if he wanted to get well? Of course he would, wouldn’t he?
Here is where it’s important to stop, press pause and think more deeply about what’s going on or we might gloss over this familiar story and miss what we need to hear.
The man told Jesus, “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, Of course, 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 than he always had? For example, this man would no longer be entitled to beg for his support. 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 and that is our ability to choose. We get to choose how we spend our time, what we do with our negative emotions, what we dwell and meditate on, moment by moment, day by day, week by week. These small choices repeated over time form habits and these habits shape your character and your lifestyle. Sometimes we get so used to being sick, we don’t even realize that we can get well and live differently.
Each week 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, manage their emotions better, as well as learn how 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 Jesus asked this man. Do you want to get well? To be healthy?
God wants to heal you. He wants you to be whole, holy and happy. But your chooser is involved because getting healthy involves making changes only you can make.
As Moses encouraged the Israelites, I hope you choose life! (See Deuteronomy 30:11-20)
And to follow up, I want to invite you to join me and hundreds of others in a FREE 5 day challenge starting June 8 to help you Move Beyond some of your bad habits that are keeping you stuck, scared, and miserable. Click here for more information.