Jesus came to help. To bind up the brokenhearted (aren’t you glad?) and free captives. You’d think that would always be a good thing. Who doesn’t want to be free? Or healed? Hmm… have you always wanted to be healed? At first, we say “absolutely!” But the next time you aren’t feeling well and it gets you out of working on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, you may not agree. I mean, who doesn’t like a nice four-day weekend. We can tolerate a little head cold if we can be at home an extra day, right? We might even be able to head out on the boat, or skip out of town a morning early.
There are other reasons people might not want to get free, or to be healed.
When you’ve come to live with something for a while and it’s “normal,” if that “norm” is changed, everyone around you is affected. Your friends and family doesn’t know what to expect anymore. You don’t know what to expect.
Check out this passage from John 5 where Jesus finds the man sick for nearly 40 years near the pool of Bethesda.
When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool
and knew how long he had been there,
he said, “Do you want to get well?”
(John 5:6 MSG)
What Jesus is really saying is: Are you ready for a whole slew of changes in your life?
And deeper: have you used your sickness to: just get by, or to get away with laziness, or to earn sympathy or attention? Have you used it as an excuse? Are you ready to take on more responsibilities? To get a different job (or any job)? To work hard(er), to work long hours? Are you ready for no more excuses?
The man Jesus is addressing had been suffering with his ailment for close to forty years. That’s a lifetime in some eras. There were implied changes in the implication of Jesus’s question: “Are you ready for some changes? Think about this. Do you want healing? Come into agreement with My good plans for you.
“Are you willing to change?”
Sometimes changes are all about freedom.
Freedom from pain.
But there are some adjustments required.
Like adding a new baby to the family. Whether it’s the first or a subsequent baby, it’s a tough, tough season. No sleep. Older siblings feel left out. Walking hallucinations. Pain. But it’s a good change. It’s just challenging. And it won’t always be so difficult.
It’s about learning a new way of life.
Sometimes we aren’t assured that the change we’re enduring is for the better. We certainly don’t always have that guarantee. So, what do we do then? We trust God has something good for us.
I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord.
They are plans for peace and not disaster,
plans to give you a future filled with hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 GW)
Is God taking you to or through a change? Do you know the outcome will be worth it? Even if you don’t, trust that God is faithful. He will not let you down.