Old patterns have no place in a new life

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Do you want to get well?"

To someone who believes they are well, it would be a strange question. To someone who has an obvious physical ailment or handicap, the question is downright odd.

Jesus sees the man reclined by the pool of Bethesda and approaches him with this one penetrating question, "Do you want to get well?" Of course he does. Isn't the answer fairly obvious? He's been here day after day, year after year for the past 38 years. If anyone wanted to get well, it would be that man.

Not only is the question odd, but so is the response, which wasn't simply "yes." "Do you want to get well?" "I can't get well, I have no one to help me and when I try to help myself someone gets ahead of me." Apparently this man did not know who Jesus was or the stories of his miracles. Without hesitation, Jesus commanded him to get up and walk. Which he did, fully restored.

The interesting thing about restoration is that life can go on without it. We can learn to live in a state of brokenness. This unnamed man lived at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years. In that time he has learned to eat, sleep and live in this broken condition. When he was healed, he didn't just walk away from the pool; he walked into an entirely new way of living.

Many of us want our lives to change but are unprepared to deal with the change of becoming whole. Instead of begging, this man now has to work. Instead of receiving mercy, he is now in a position to give it. Instead of waiting for someone to help him, he now has the power to do it himself.

The sad truth is that it is easier to deal with the known than the unknown. Becoming whole is not simply a matter of leaving the broken behind but of embracing a new way of living. The old patterns cannot be carried over. By God's grace may we all walk whole.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.

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