“… ‘Do you want to be made well?’… Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” John 5:6,8-9a (NKJV)
I have always struggled with fear. In fact, there was a time not so long ago when you could say, from a worldly stance, fear owned me.
It owned my thoughts.
It owned my actions.
It owned my perspective.
And it certainly owned my emotions.
For over 20 years, I prayed for an instantaneous, healing miracle I never received. I desperately wanted God to set me free from the fear that plagued me.
After all, miracles had happened to others around me. So why that person and not me? Why were they miraculously freed, while I was left here in this awful darkness? Why did God pick and choose like that?
And worst of all was this thought: Why didn't God choose me?
Yes. I said and thought and yelled out these things (and so much more) in my anger at what I saw as God intentionally not rescuing or protecting me. Or just simply not caring enough to help me. I was disillusioned with the fact that I sought Him out consistently while others did not, and He gave me back what felt like a big, fat nothing.
So the only reasonable thing in my mind was to stop trusting God. If He wasn’t going to protect me, then I would have to protect myself.
And I did … until I couldn't anymore.
In my resolve to do this came an ever-increasing awareness of my own powerlessness to help myself or change what was. And that is where we find the afflicted man in the following passage:
“In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water … Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well? … Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:3, 5-6, 8-9a, NKJV).
This is a man who knew suffering well, who knew the frustration of being overlooked and forgotten.
And in the world? He was.
But what he didn't know yet was that God had not forgotten him. And the time had finally come for him to be healed.
So why did God wait so long? Why didn't He heal the man years earlier?
Because, friends, there is so much more to what God is doing than what is happening around us — and to us. A purpose is being worked out in the heavens that is so much bigger than our minds can presently conceptualize.
In the end, all that is real and lasting is God’s glory displayed through us to touch a dark and weary world that does not yet know Him.
Is God willing to sacrifice something in our story for something grander in scale? Well … yes. Yet sometimes we are surprised, disappointed and disillusioned when this happens, even though our lives belong to Him. We feel forgotten, out of control, afraid.
But if we believe God’s promises as they are laid out in His Word, then we will know …
We are not forgotten. (Isaiah 44:21)
We have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us. (2 Timothy 1:7; John 16:13)
We have nothing to fear. (Isaiah 41:10)
God has made you a key player in His redemption story. So what will you believe about Him, His promises and His purposes?
I used to see my weakness as a crutch I had to eliminate to feel normal. But it is through my weakness that God displays His life-changing, fear-fleeing glory.
And friends, when that happens, guess what? We become the miracle.
Dear Lord, help me to see the truth in my weakness. And give me the courage I need to be a key player in Your amazing story. Thank You for loving me enough to make me part of it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Luke 5:24, “‘So that you may know the Son of Man has the right and the power on earth to forgive sins,’ He said to the man who could not move his body, ‘I say to you, get up. Take your bed and go to your home.’” (NLV)
Think of a time when you asked God to deliver you from something seemingly unbearable, and He did not for a long time — or at all. How did that make you see Him in relation to your circumstances?
How might an understanding of the larger picture of God's redemption story, and your part in it, change your perspective?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2022 by Kelly Anne Burns. All rights reserved.
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