I can’t do this any more
Sometimes life’s challenges have us screaming, ‘Something has got to change, I can’t go on like this!’ We need a miracle. We desperately want change, but there seems to be something blocking our blessings.
In John 5, a man, who was disabled for more than 38 years, was sitting at the pool of Bethesda waiting for someone to lift him into the water when it was stirred. Jesus saw him and asked, “Do you want to get well?” The man answered by complaining about having none to help him, and so others would get ahead of him and be healed. Jesus responded by telling him to get up and walk. Immediately, he was healed. Jesus bypassed many others who needed healing and spoke into this man’s situation, bringing a change. He can also speak into our situation and bring change, so let’s see what we can learn from this man’s experience.
The first thing we notice is:
WE MUST DETERMINE WHAT WE NEED (John 5:6)
Jesus asked this man a question: “Do you want to get well?” John 5:5b (NIV). This question cuts through the fluff straight to the heart of the matter. Sometimes, we feel crippled by circumstance, hurt, pain, or sin and Jesus is asking if we want to get well. Even when we want change, we can hold on tightly to what cripples us and this paralyses our progress spiritually and emotionally. Jesus wants to deliver and move us from where we have been stuck. To receive this deliverance, we must desire change. The man’s response to Jesus’ question brings us to our second observation.
WE MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OURSELVES (John 5:7)
When Jesus asked, ‘Do you want to get well?’ His reply was, “Sir … 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.” John 5:7 (NIV). Some persons are of the belief that his response amounts to a complaint and a blame for others. Though, that might be so, I would prefer to state that despite his physical limitations, it appears he had been trying each time to get into the water. The truth is that we often see people failing to take responsibility. We hear them saying things like, ‘I’d work harder, but no one appreciates my effort’, or ‘I’d make better grades, but my teacher doesn’t like me’. We find it difficult to take responsibility, yet the Lord wants us to accept responsibility. Romans 14:12 (NIV) says, ‘…each of us will give an account of ourselves to God’. To receive the breakthrough Jesus has for us, we must face our excuse directly and say, ‘This will no longer be my excuse for me staying here. As of this moment, I am committing to go in a direction of faith.’
Which brings us to the third observation from this conversation with Jesus.
WE MUST OBEY JESUS’ INSTRUCTION (John 5:8)
Jesus responded with a message of life and vitality. In Jesus, we have somebody who does not just drag us around on our mats of self-pity, but someone who brings healing to our damaged emotions, and who can say with all authority, “Get up and walk!” We also observe that the miracle started with Jesus, but it is maintained by us.
WE MUST MAINTAIN OUR VICTORY
After the man was healed, Jesus had slipped away to escape the attention of the Pharisees, but later He found the man and said, “… See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” John 5:14 (NIV). Jesus created a link between our sins (our hurts, pains, etc.) and some of the things that paralyse our lives. We, therefore, need to guard ourselves and walk in a way that protects our breakthrough and our miracle. We need to stop doing the things we know will result in our demise.
God’s miracle in our lives is accomplished by His grace alone and, to experience it, we must reach out in faith and cooperate with Him. Do we want it to be well? Do you want a miracle? What if Jesus says that the breakthrough we want is not going to be instantaneous, that it’s going to take us working long hours, following a disciplined programme, facing the possibility of several ‘failures’ or swallowing our pride. God can do it instantaneously, but sometimes He does it over time. So, when He asks, “Do you want to be well?” We must answer: “Yes, Lord, I am ready to do what is required to move from this place.” And we must also trust and believe that the miracle … the change is possible and will come for us.