Every other Wednesday, I get to lead evening prayer at my church and offer a mini -message for the homeless and near homeless. Here is my first day of Spring message.
During my devotions this morning, I was led to the passage in the Bible from the Book of John Chapter 5 versus 1-18.
This is the story of the sick man at the healing pools called Bethesda where it is said that an angel would stir the waters. So there were crowds of people who gathered with all sorts of illnesses. And when the angel stirred the waters, the first one into the waters would be healed.
Now there was an ill fellow there who for 38 years had been a hurting soul. Jesus knew he had been unwell for some time. Jesus spoke to him. And he asked him something: “Do you want to be made well?”
That is a powerful question?
Do you want to be made well?
In other words, do you want your life to be different.? Are you doing the same thing every day – sitting. waiting – and getting no results.
Sometimes our lives are so out of whack and have been out of sorts for so long that feeling bad is all we know. Sometimes we get comfortable with the misery, the misery starts to take root. We nurture it, carry it around like our best friend and bring it everywhere.
Hi, this is me, and this is my ride and die pal, misery.
You know today is the first day of spring and roots can grow deep. Don’t nurture your misery and despair and let the roots grow deep cutting you off from life.
In the Bible story, the fellow told Jesus that he could not get to the pool in time. He would try but there was always someone faster getting there before him. Perhaps that was true. Perhaps no one offered to help. Perhaps he never asked for help. Perhaps he never looked around to see how he could help to help himself.
Sometimes, we sit by the pool of opportunity letting others pass over us to get their blessing.
Let’s break it down even more.
Sometimes, we stay in bad relationships because we don’t think we deserve to get out or we don’t know how to get out.
Sometimes, we keep hitting that pipe believing the lies and thinking that’s all life has for us.
Sometimes, we’d rather take our chances on the street or begging strangers for money or stealing and hoping that next would-be victim doesn’t have a bigger weapon.
Sometimes, we can’t get still enough to get out of own way.
Sometimes, we don’t take advantage of the angels around us, the services available to us, the change agents who can walk with us and show us another path.
Sometimes. it’s easier, more comfortable to befriend our misery and pray to God for help.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s always good to pray to God for help. We hear today in the first verse of the Psalm 31 passage the prayer of someone who is in deep pain: “Be merciful to me Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning.” Psalm 31 verse 9.
There is a lot of pain in that passage. I have been in that deep space of pain and I am sure some of you may be able to relate.
In the Book of John, Jesus listened to the man by the pool. Jesus healed him.
Now I believe this story, and all stories in the Bible, are here for a reason. We read them to reflect on and to see how they work in our lives today. Because stories of pain and despair, loneliness and fear, and hope and joy are throughout the Bible.
The journeys are different but the destination is the same. Do you want to be well?
What would Jesus say to you today, to me?
Are there things in your life that are unwell?
Are there actions you are doing that no longer serve you, that are keeping you stuck? Are you sitting by the pool waiting for a miracle while ignoring all the angels and opportunities God has placed before you?
Open your eyes. This is yet another beauty of spring. Some say they want to have a relationship with God. If you pray for a relationship with God, Be. In. Relationship. With. God.
God speaks to us daily, Shows out and shows up for us daily. When you want to get to know someone you spend time with them, talk to them, listen to them, learn from them. Question them. It is the same with God. Read. Listen. Pray. Learn the language of God. When I think of Spring, I see the language of God. But I’m from Michigan so I see the language of God in all the seasons. Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. See the beauty all around, even in the darkness.
When we do this with God, suddenly our eyes are opened. Our vision has shifted from always looking down and only seeing that little piece of our life holding us back. When we are in a relationship with God, we become aware of and take part in the multitude of blessings around us. We see the gifts from God, the multitude of ways God is saying, “I’ve got you. I am walking with you. I hear you. I see you. … Do you want to be well?
May we be ready with an answer.