- Bible Reading: John 5:1-13
- Focus Scripture: John 5:7
- Exodus 35:1-3
Think Quick!!! What are the first three things that come to mind when you think about yourself?
When I first studied this passage long ago it gripped my heart. I had to get serious about several things and at the top of that list was my physical health. I needed God to tell me to pick up my mat. No, I wasn’t as afflicted as the man sitting by the pool but I had my own insecurities, fears, and limitations.
The man had suffered a long time, thirty-eight years. THE CROWD. He blamed other people; no one helped him. No one wanted him to be healed because they were too busy looking out for themselves. The people in his midst just wanted to “get what was theirs” and move on. The afflicted man needed God.
While we wait… what do we do? Are we concerned about the welfare of others or are we just waiting for our turn? Who would we push aside to: grab the next promotion, get ahead in this life, use as a stepping stone or blame for our current financial or physical status?
I recall a story from either a book or movie about two women. They had won an all expenses paid vacation for two weeks at an extravagant resort. The flight would take ten hours but that was a sacrifice they were willing to make. Once they reached their destination a disheveled man, that looked like a criminal, was frantically beckoning them to get inside a vehicle that had seen better days. They were frightened! With a map in hand, they decided to walk, with their luggage, the two short miles to the resort. Well, that was a mistake. A walk that should have taken thirty minutes turned into two days of being lost in the wilderness of a foreign country. Finally, they emerged into a town with torn clothing, matted hair, and not the best of body aromas. (Hmm…) Seeing a cab driver casually reading a newspaper and sipping coffee they rushed over and pleaded with him to take them to address written on the brochure. Skeptical of their appearance the driver obliged placed their luggage in the trunk and drove them about 400 feet to their destination. Shocked, the only thing the women could do was pay him and laugh at their misfortune. (They never looked up to take in their surroundings). Once inside the lavish building the women quickly became self-conscious, however, a man in a tailored suit greeted them warmly and was so glad they finally made it. Relieved the women followed him to their suite where they were able to bathe, eat, and rest.
We see in this story where there was lots of blame to go around, if the man at the airport had dressed appropriately the women may not have feared him, if the map was easier to read they would not have gotten lost, if the cab driver had pointed to the resort instead of taking advantage of their foolishness they would not have wasted money. These ladies were in for one more shock. The man who attempted to pick them up from the airport was the same well-tailored man that greeted them in the resort lobby. He also followed them at a discreet distance through the wilderness leaving them water, bread, and fruit while they slept. He watched over them shewing animals away and making sure their campfire remained lit. None of that was revealed until the last day of their stay.
God sends his angels to watch over us. Just like the man sitting by the pool these women needed Christ to intervene and show mercy. The impulses we as humans have to check on someone or provide a need I believe is divinely orchestrated. God doesn’t need us but He blesses us with the opportunity to act on His behalf. Instead of looking at who we can blame for our current circumstances either physical, spiritual, financial, or mental we should look at our surroundings. Do we need God and God alone to meet us where we are and take our afflictions away?
Jesus teaches us that even in our pitiful, weak, confused minds He will show us a way up and out of our current circumstances. Many people were sitting by the pool in Bethesda but only one was healed. He had a desire he just didn’t know how to get it. Jesus was the way and he gave him a clear path. Jesus will make our path clear if we will believe just a little that the possibility of him being right may make all the difference in our world as we know it.
Have you been guilty of placing your faith in man instead of God? I know I have and while I could share story after story about my mistakes it would serve no purpose. Growing wiser and more sympathetic to the shortcomings of others has increased the wisdom of my own limitations. When I allowed God to put my life in perspective my bitterness was washed away and I was humbled into repentance for having the nerve to blame someone else. I knew I needed God but, turned to humans instead. It may be time to look up to our Lord to heal us of our afflictions.
- Who do I blame for my misfortunes? Is it the crowd, do I blame God?
- What are my go-to excuses for not being where I know God wants me to be?
- Do I use or mistreat people because I am focused on my own healing?
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