Do you want to get well?

Perhaps this seems like a silly question. After all, who would want to not be well?  Do we all not strive to make life and living as comfortable as possible?  It would stand to reason that we would. It only makes sense, but for some reason we often choose the opposite.  Do you really want to get well? Stay well? Live well?

John 5:6 (HCSB)

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?”

The man Jesus was asking this question of had been sick for 38 years, the text goes on to read.  He obviously wished to be well because he was lying near the pool where the sick, blind and paralyzed would gather. Staying there waiting for the waters of the pool to be stirred by and angel. In hopes that they could be the first one into the water after it had been stirred because that person would be healed, the story shares with us.

But he wasn’t ever able to make it into the pool first.  Someone would beat him to it.  He had no one to assist him in ahead of the others, so buy the pool he lay.

Then Jesus asks him out of the blue ‘Do you want to get well?’  Can you imagine what went through the man’s head being asked this? What a question! Later on you find that the man didn’t even know who Jesus was after being healed.

“I can’t get there in time”; could be an apparent paraphrase of what he responded to Jesus with. Furthermore, he told Jesus he had no one to help him into the water. Apparently he was lame.

And Jesus’s response was “Get up”. “Pick up your mat and walk!”

Wonderful story. A simple miracle by the measure of the wonders that Jesus performed but it meant everything to that lame man.

As I look at this story, the part that really stands out to me are the words of the Master. “Do you want to get well?”  Then what happened?  The man expressed his desire as well as inability to take the measures necessary to be healed.  Then, Jesus immediately acted on the man’s behalf.  He was healed.

Matthew 7:7 (HCSB)

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

 It’s as simple as asking

So this would appear to demonstrate that if we but express our desire that God is going to fulfill that ‘need’. Doesn’t it?  Why are there quotes around ‘need’? If it were just that simple, then why do we not have our every desire satisfied?

That is because while it is simple, there are some mitigating conditions attached.

James 4:2-3 (NKJV)

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Ever have something that you really wanted and you thought you ‘deserved’ it or ‘needed’ it?  I have and on more than one occasion.  I’ve even gone as far as to scrimp and save to acquire what I was desired and even asked God for assistance in obtaining it.  So what is the big deal with this asking, seeking, and knocking business Lord?

The answer to that is above in James.  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

As a father, I wanted my boys to have every advantage to succeed and grow to be happy, productive, and well respected people.  I would have done whatever was needed to see these objectives met in their lives.  But I also wanted them to learn to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions at the same time.  So I gave them the opportunity to make some decisions on their own, understanding that they would have to suffer the consequences if those decisions were not correct.  Some might call that a ‘school of hard knocks’ mentality, but I think it is just wise to allow a child to begin making non-life critical decisions on their own so that they can develop those skills before they find themselves out on their own.

That meant that they inevitably would make errors in judgement.  Yes, admittedly I would try to minimize the impact of those bad decisions as much as I could but I also couldn’t intervene too much because otherwise they would never learn the lesson of the experience. God allows us to fail as well when we have errors in judgement.  He also will intervene at times as well.

Stubbornness runs in our family.  Time and time again, I wanted to step in and ‘make the call’ but I realized that doing so would handicap my children.  Stand by I must.  I would be happy to render some advice is asked.  But more often than not, they never asked.  Perhaps that is a key to our growth; learning to surrender your will to that which is good and right; to the will of God.  Surrender to make your desires subordinate to the good of others; surrender to make our will subordinate to the will of God.

An example of this was provided by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Luke 22:42 (NKJV)

saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

So, when we ask God for His intervention in our affairs, it is incumbent on us to consider what our Heavenly Father might consider.  How does this request pair against the needs of our brothers, sisters, and the community around us?  Are we seeking the same thing our Lord and Master seeks for us?

Like a parent, seeking to instruct their children, as they grow into mature adults; God gives us freewill.  His divine will is that we, his children, make choices that will allow us to grow and mature to be adult members of His family.  Family members that reflect honor and Glory back to God our Father. Just as earthly parents take pride in when their children make the correct choices, God does when we do as well.

Let’s come back to the real question being asked here.  “Do you want to get well?

‘Being Well’ is a bit different from the perspective of the viewer in question.  ‘Well’ to us may be that we have that new car or house.  It may be that ‘well’ to us means that our body is healthy.  Well may be that we achieve our dreams from our perspective.

But God’s image of wellness for us may be having a place to lay our head and shelter from the storm. Well may be that although our body is failing, our spirit is vibrant and in unity with God’s. Well to God is that our dreams and aspirations are in lockstep with His.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  God isn’t your short order cook of life. If you’ve surrendered to His Son Jesus Christ, God is your Father.  When we seek from Him, we need to do so with a heart that is compliant to His will.  Surrendered to the aspirations that God our Father has placed in our hearts and not desires born out of selfish desire. If we ask for things outside His will, then we ‘ask amiss’, seeking to satisfy the flesh.

 Sounds counterintuitive!

It may until you’ve come to understand the relationship that exists between us and God.  It is imperative that we recognize this and more importantly embrace it.  There’s an old song that we used to sing in church and it had a bouncy rhythm to it. We loved singing it!  But the key phrase in that song has a message so powerful when it is really applied to your life.  Jesus, others and you!

 Jesus and Others and You
Written by B. Metzger, 1951

Jesus and others and you
What a wonderful way to spell joy
Jesus and others and you
in the life of each girl and each boy
“J” is for Jesus for He has first place,
“O” is for others you meet face to face,
“Y” is for you, in whatever you do,
Put yourself third and spell JOY.

When we place God first in our priorities we begin to establish a template for ‘wellness in your walk’.  Then considering others over yourself places us in a role that sets us on the path of our redeemer. Finally, the ‘me’ in this order of things.  Me because I hold the temple of the Holy Spirit. Me because, I am God’s messenger. Me because, in all I do I ‘need’ to bring Glory to my Father who loved me so that He sent His Son, so that I might be adopted into His family.  Yes that spells joy, but it also spells ‘well’ too.

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