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A Walk of Faith

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Read John 5: 1-9

Don’t you just love that Jesus isn’t afraid to live His life on the edge?

As chapter five opens, we see that Jesus is once again in the middle of a group of people who aren’t the up and comers of Jerusalem: they are all blind, lame, or paralyzed (v 4). Can’t you just picture Jesus walking by the Sheep Gate and being drawn to the crowd of helpless people lying by the pool? Jesus always has the poor, the orphans, the helpless, and the sick on his radar, and I can just imagine Him making a beeline for the worst one there. Verse six tells us that Jesus learns that one of the men has been sick for 38 years.

Jesus then asks him what seems to be an obvious question: “Do you want to get well?”

Why would Jesus ask this question when the man has been lame for 38 years? Surely the answer has to be yes. I wonder if Jesus did this because the man has lost hope, accepting this affliction as his permanent reality. Perhaps Jesus needs to reawaken in this man his dreams of a normal life and a healthy body.

You’ll notice that the man doesn’t directly answer Jesus’ question with a yes or no. He instead offers an explanation as to why he hasn’t received healing—he has no one to help him in the pool when the water is stirred, so someone else always gets there first. If that’s the case, it’s no wonder the man is discouraged.

Probably every day a friend or family member on his way to work carries the lame man to the pool and then picks him up on the way home. All day the lame man simply waits and watches the water—we don’t even know how often the Spirit stirs the water. Every day, week, or month? At the first ripple of water, the man desperately tries to crawl or roll to the pool, but for 38 years, someone else always gets there first.

I can just imagine that Jesus stays quiet until the lame man stops talking. Jesus locks eyes with the man and tells him “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” And just like that, he does. Thirty-eight years of atrophy gone in one second.

What can our friend from the pool of Bethesda teach us?

  • A vibrant faith reawakens hope in our lives. When the lame man meets Jesus, he sees the power of God in Jesus. This ignites his faith, and Jesus heals him.
  • A vibrant faith sometimes requires us to make a move. The lame man has to act on that faith. He takes Jesus at his word, picks up his mat, and stands up.

Where has hope died in your life? Jesus is trying to get your attention, look you in the eye, and shake you out of your spiritual paralysis.

What is he asking you to move out of and on to in your life? Like the lame man did, we need to pick up our mats and leave behind the years that crippled us. Faith flies in the face of years of bad habits, patterns, and stagnation and moves us toward health and healing and possibilities.

This is the first blog in our faith series. Please leave a comment below on your thoughts, feelings, or experiences in growing your faith.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net




When Your World Is Rocked …

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I can hardly believe that the holiday season is already over.  Most people look forward all year long to the feast that they can devour without judgment at Thanksgiving and the festivities of Christmas, but for my family this year, those traditions were moved to the bottom of our priority list.

About two months ago, my mom started getting really sick, and the doctors couldn’t find any source to her illness. They ran test after test, yet nothing made sense as to why she had a low blood count and was losing weight at an alarming rate. Christmas was right around the corner, and we decided to take a break from all the doctors’ appointments and just enjoy the season with our family. We would worry about possible causes for these symptoms after the tree had come down and the media had stopped showing all their Christmas specials.

This seemed like a great idea, but God had other plans. Plans that would rock our world… but then again, God seems to like switching up our plans, especially around Christmas time. The whole point of this season is that God flipped the script and sent His Son born of a virgin to save us. So when everything stopped going according to plan this Christmas, for me it was a lot easier to deal with, because I knew that God was still in control, just as He was 2,000 years ago.

About a week before December 25, my mom started coughing up blood. It wasn’t a lot the first day. But then it continued day after day, until her whole hand would be covered with the blood. Christmas was just days away, but it was time to act. We rushed her to the hospital to find out that she had lung cancer the size of a baseball in her left lung. The doctors had not thought to look for that specific form of cancer because my mother had never smoked or worked in a vocation that might contribute to lung cancer.

After that, things started going pretty fast. We were rushing my mom to many CT scans and biopsies. It was originally believed that she had stage three cancer, which would have given her about eight months to live. However, my God is bigger than doctors’ diagnoses, and after much prayer my mother returned for another doctors appointment to find out that the cancer was not spreading as fast as they had first thought and that they might be able to get all of the cancer with surgery. That surgery is still going to be very rough and we are all anticipating January 18, when my mom will have her entire left lung removed, but we are trusting God and know that He will protect my mom and continue to give us all peace throughout this difficult and scary experience.

On behalf of my mom, I am asking that any one reading this would please pray for her on January 18 as she goes into surgery. It would be so powerful and amazing to know that thousands of people are out there praying for her to have strength and to feel God’s presence throughout this time. My mom’s own personal prayer is that God be glorified in all of this. Thank you.

Pray on!

Brittany

Brittany Jean is a nineteen-year-old college student living in the Midwest with her parents and younger brother. She is currently majoring in pre-law and is planning on using that degree for ministry.