Waiting for the Water to Stir
Take up your bed and walk
To the degree that we believe lies, our walk of faith is crippled. We can try to adjust our gait, pretending we don’t have a limp, make excuses for why we stumble, and perform with the best, but we will not truly succeed. Only the Lord can free us from the lies we hold onto and only He can refine our faith, renew our minds and transform our lives.
Like the lame man lying near the pool of Bethesda, we, too, make excuses. As the narrative goes, “… a man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” This is where we all have to start. God is asking us what we want. We may say we want to be free of the lies and pain, but we are often unwilling to connect with our feelings and expose what we believe. It is easier to play the victim and seek sympathy.
“The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’” This was the man’s perspective, but not all of the truth. The greater truth is, no one is keeping us from freedom except ourselves through our own choices.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.’” Take ownership of your condition. Choose to move forward. Look to the Lord for His healing truth. “Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk” (John 5:6-9). When this man believed the Lord and chose to move in the direction of the truth, he was restored. When we choose to move in the direction of God and position ourselves to know His truth, He will persuade our hearts of His truth and we will believe. When we believe the truth with our hearts we will be transformed by it. As soon as we know the truth, it transforms us. Transformation is instantaneous as an outcome of believing the truth with the heart.
We, too, are encouraged to take responsibility for what we believe and thus feel. We can choose to stop blaming others and our situation for what we feel and for how we respond. There is no freedom for those who choose to be victims, continuing to blame others and their circumstances for their condition. This is not to say that what others may have done is right or just. However, how we respond and what we feel is totally determined by what we believe.
The Jesus Model
Jesus gave us a great example on the day He was crucified. His responses to the massive injustices thrust upon Him were based on the truth He possessed every step of the way. Nowhere in the accounts given of this day do we find Him responding in fear, worry, anxiety, or any other typical lie-based emotion. He spoke words of encouragement to John, telling him to care for His mother. He offered eternal life to the thief. He expressed compassion and forgiveness to the very ones who were crucifying Him. The only negative emotion Jesus appears to have experienced was the feeling of being forsaken of His Father.
However, the truth was, he was forsaken by His Father as the sacrificial lamb carrying the sins of the world. In that moment His painful feelings matched the truth. The good news is that we will never be abandoned by God. Therefore, there is never any reason for us to feel anxious, defeated, worried, fearful, or overwhelmed. All of these emotions are based upon lies, and if used correctly, they can lead us to the truth and ultimate transformation.
We can continue to lay by the pool and wait for someone to rescue us and help us into the water, or we can look to Christ. He is waiting for us to take responsibility, stop blaming others or our situation and allow Him through His Spirit to persuade us of the truth within our hearts. When we know the truth we will “take up our beds and walk.”
“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:12-13