Do You Want To Be Made Whole?

do-you-want-to-be-made-whole

Today, we face many challenges that come from living in a fallen world. Whether it’s chronic illness, pain, depression (or other mental illness), addiction, financial struggles, etc. we all find ourselves wanting relief or healing at times.

Sometimes we pursue quick-fix avenues to help alleviate the issues or perhaps simply ease the symptoms. But many times those are only temporary and don’t offer the true healing that we are searching for.

I’ve been asked this question by both pastors and accountability partners in the past, “Do you WANT to get better?” There are issues that have been a part of my life that I let go on for YEARS while taking no real action to give it to God and recover. As a result, both I and my loved ones suffered.

So, in this article, we are going to explore the origins of that question, “Do you want to be made whole?”

THE HEALING AT BETHESDA


One of the great healing miracles of Jesus is documented in the Gospel of John.

“After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. 5 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 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?” 7 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.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.”

John 5:1-9 NASB

BACKGROUND

It was customary for the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem at certain times to celebrate the various feasts.

There was a pool In Jerusalem that was widely known to be a place of healing. While scholars debate the accuracy of verse 4 (since it’s not in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts), we do know from the other verses in the context that the Jewish people who were suffering from various ailments and diseases would go there to be healed.

Whether it’s simply folklore tradition or whether an angel of the Lord would actually perform the healing shouldn’t be our focus. What our focus should be, however, is the interaction between Jesus, and the ill man.

THE INTERACTION

Not much is known about the man mentioned in this text. For instance:

  • We don’t know how many times prior to this festival that he had gone to this pool, or even how he got there.
  • We don’t know exactly what the illness is although it’s apparent that mobility and walking are an issue.
  • We don’t know how many times he’s attempted to make it into the pool, yet failing.

What we do know, however, that he has been sick for a really long time. 38 years to be exact! Jesus, of course, knows all about this mans illness and even knows how long he has suffered from this condition.

One thing that I find interesting is that Jesus approaches him. Many other times we see the sick person trying to find a way to approach Jesus, but not here. Jesus goes straight up to this man and asks him a simple question. “Do you wish to get well?”

This is an interesting question. Of course, he wanted to be healed! He had been suffering from this condition for 38 years, so why wouldn’t he want to get well?

In his response to Jesus, he gives the reason/excuse as to why he hasn’t been able to receive healing and reveals his need for help.

After the man’s response, Jesus simply tells the man to “get up, pick up his mat (pallet), and walk.” Those words brought the man immediately to his feet and he began walking!

  • He didn’t have to go down to the pool.
  • He didn’t have to go through extensive medication or physical therapy.
  • He didn’t have a slow progressive recovery.

Jesus spoke, the man responded, and was healed.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?


These verses, when prayerfully meditated on, invite us to ask ourselves that same question: Do we want to get well/be made whole? I think about the meaning of these words and I believe that it goes beyond the surface.

As I reflect on that question, several thoughts come to mind about us today:

  • Do we want to get better?
  • Do we want to be healed (physically/mentally/spiritually)?
  • Do we want to overcome that addiction (smoking/alcohol/drugs/pornography/etc.)?
  • Do we want to be free from the bondage of sin?
  • Do we want to be free from the chains of this world (debt/consumption/status/etc.)?
  • Do we want to live a more simple, Jesus-centered life?

Or do we want to just lay there on our mat and watch as others get to the healing pool instead?

CANCEROUS PERSPECTIVE


I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of knowing far too many people who have been diagnosed with cancer. I’ve seen full recovery/remission and I’ve seen people pass away within a few short weeks of the diagnosis.

For those that recovered, there was a common trait. There was a fight in them. I’m not talking about the typical, “I’m gonna beat this” type of fight. No. There was something different. There was a willingness to do whatever it took to get through it. Sometimes, it was the fight of others through intense, faithful prayer and fasting that brought about the recovery.

I watched a man go from, “Get your affairs in order.” to “The most recent scan shows that ALL of the tumors have vanished.”, simply because a group of believers prayed around the clock for his healing and God responded.

I watched my grandfather fight for several long agonizing months to get better after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung and liver cancer. His fight and determination kept him going for quite awhile. Then, after falling and breaking his arm, he gave up the fight. I was there in the hospital room when he looked at my mom and said, “I just don’t know how much longer I can do this.” A few short months later, he went home to be with the Lord.

That’s not to say that all those who leave us too soon have no desire to get better. But sometimes (not always), the pain of doing what it takes to get there just isn’t worth it.

That brings us to another question that we should ask ourselves:

WHERE IS OUR FIGHT? (WHAT IS HOLDING US BACK FROM BEING MADE WHOLE?)


There are many reasons why people don’t actually want to get better. These reasons can include:

  • FEAR – Not only do we not like change, but we actually develop a paralyzing fear of it. For some, even the thought of things being different is enough to scare us away from taking the steps toward healing.
  • COMPLACENCY – Much like the fear aspect, we actually become comfortable and complacent in our misery. We start having thoughts that “this is just the way it is” and nothing is ever going to change. The thought of learning new routines and shaking things up makes us prefer to stay where we are, no matter how damaging and painful it may be.
  • ATTENTION– For some people, we just like the attention. We become, in a sense, addicted to the sympathy of others and don’t want to lose it.
  • LAZINESS – For some, a few simple steps are all it would take to actually break free and be made whole. Yet the simple thought of putting in a little bit of work into the “Get up” aspect is enough to make us want to remain in our current misery.
  • APATHY – For some, we have dealt with our situation for so long that we just don’t care anymore. We don’t even want to hear about new treatments, methods, or trials. Even if they are an obvious answer to prayer.
  • LACK OF FAITH – All throughout Scripture we see the importance that faith has on healing and mighty works from God. (Mark 5:34, Mark 10:52, Luke 17:19, etc. )The best collection of examples documenting great faith can be found in Hebrews 11.
  • LIP-SERVICE – I mention this in my Reflections For The New Year article. 92% of people fail at keeping New Years Resolutions. One of this reasons is because we are all talk. We love to talk about making changes and getting better, but when it comes to putting some faith and action behind those words and actually getting there, we fall short and hope people don’t remember all of our empty words.

In his book, Christians Get Depressed Too, David Murray writes:

“Doctors and pastors are often faced with the frustrating situation of people who need the help they can give, yet are not taking the steps required to benefit from this help. Perhaps they have just learned to live with the problem. Perhaps they have given up hope of getting better. Perhaps they lack the will to play their part in the healing process. Perhaps they are frightened of all the responsibilities of life that would come upon them should they be viewed as well again. Perhaps they would miss the attention and sympathy that being ill may generate. These are all possibilities.”

FINAL THOUGHTS/PRAYER


Many of us think that it was easy for the man at Bethesda because he had the healing words of Jesus to help him get better. We think, “Well, if I lived back in that time it would be different, I could just go to Jesus and get better.”

Here’s the thing though, we can. We can go to Jesus right now. Today. We can cry out to Him to begin the healing process.

It may not be as instantaneous as it was for this man. I’ve seen it happen, but it’s not the norm. It’s probably going to take some additional action on our part. Maybe even the help of counselors, medical staff, or accountability partners, depending on the type of healing we are seeking.

God can use all of those things to help us, heal us, and make us whole again.

But the question is, how bad do we want it? Are we ready to be made whole? I know I am.

Father in Heaven, we humbly come before You and ask for Your healing in our lives. As we reflect on the words of Jesus to the man at the pool of Bethesda, it challenges us to ask ourselves that same question. Help us to overcome any objections or excuses that are holding us back from Your healing. Give us the wisdom to know what action we must take to move forward in the healing process. Lord, may we look to You for true healing, and may it be used as a witnessing tool to bring others closer to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What about you? Have you called out to God and proclaimed that you want to be made whole? Share your story of healing/victory in the comment section below.

Mentioned In This Article:

Article: Reflections For The New Year
Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray

29 thoughts on “Do You Want To Be Made Whole?

  1. Thimo says:

    Very interesting article and website. I had cancer as a teenager. Learned a lot at this time, especially to enjoy life. What I didn´t do before. Still have a lot to work on, though 😉

    • Amen, Thimo. Situations like that have a way of helping us to see what’s most important in life. I’m so glad to see that you have recovered and have a story to share. Keep enjoying life, my friend. Take it one day at a time! 😉

  2. Lyn V. says:

    One thing I enjoy about this article is the concept of activating your faith. It’s not a passive process!! When someone has that “fight” in them, they are engaged, and WORKING for their answer, not waiting for it to just land on them. I just wrote to a friend recently that when Jesus met with the blind Bartimaeus, he asked him, “What do you want me to do?” Well, Jesus could, of course, see that he was blind, so you would think it was a given! So why would Jesus ask such an obvious question? I believe it was to get Bartimaeus engaged and cooperating in his own healing.

    • Indeed. Being active and engaging in any part of your faith is very important. I tend to think about it in the relationship sense, since it is, in fact, a relationship with Jesus. In order for any relationship to work well and be healthy, both parties need to be involved and be active.

      In many ways, modern technology and modern medicine have made it a little too convenient for us to be far more passive in our healing process (whatever it may be that we are trying to overcome). We just want the quick fix and not to pursue true healing. We just want the symptoms to go away. We aren’t overly concerned with the underlying condition/issue.

      But, in Jesus’ day, it was a much bigger deal and more involved process.

  3. Aidan says:

    Interesting. In my opinion, God allows pain and suffering in our lives in order to draw us closer to Him and remind us that this is a broken, sinful world. The main thing is that we turn to HIm for forgiveness and after that, He may heal us, but it depends on His plan!

  4. Tanya says:

    Jesus set a good example for us by reaching out to the sick man. It is our duty to reach out without waiting for the person to ask us for help.

  5. Johnny says:

    Very interesting. I am a believer of Jesus Christ. I actually have bible study tomorrow looking forward to that! Very nice website btw.

  6. Maja says:

    Very interesting and educational topic. Life is a big school, to solve big and small tasks helps us to have faith and believe in good.
    This is a good theme for thinking.
    Best regards.

  7. Kelsey says:

    I have a very personal connection with this passage in John 5. Years ago, I had a dream that I was being stirred in water and getting healed. I didn’t know about the pool at Bethesda at the time. Last year, I was healed of severe neck and facial pain from an unknown source, but likely caused by posture issues. I had TMD and anxiety in the night for months. An apostle gave a word of knowledge about my affliction at a worship concert with an audience of thousands, and I was healed that night. I had no idea radical instant healing could be so accessible until Papa in heaven found me that night.

    Our God is a good God who heals!

    I love what you are doing on your site. Keep it up, brother.

  8. Nate says:

    Hi Chad!
    I find the story of the healing at the pool to be really interesting! Thank you for bringing it to mind this morning. It made for a great devotional! It helps me to really take it to heart if I add my own commentary:

    The message of this story seems even more powerful when I take into consideration the grand narrative surrounding it. Jesus was healing people to show who he was. He was the one mentioned in the ancient prophecies with the power to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and set captives free. I was remembering that in most cases Jesus heals those who had an idea that he is the Messiah and believed in him. And much of the Gospel of John is about Jesus talking about himself, who he is, and his relationship with his disciples. One thing that makes this story unique is that the sick man doesn’t seem to care who Jesus is at all. In fact, I’m just now noticing that the man’s dialogue could almost be offensive to Jesus. “Yes I want to be well but nobody cares about me. Nobody wants to help me.” And yet Jesus had such compassion for the man and for some reason decided to heal him. The man thought his only hope was the pool. Little did he know that the creator and sovereign Lord of whatever healing properties that were in that pool was the one asking him if he wanted to be well.

    So that’s the message of your blog post-Mr. Chad. We may do what we can to be healthy physically and mentally. But as a follower of Christ, we look to him as the one who redeems what is wrong and makes it right! The climax of this story and every story in the gospels comes later when Jesus dies and rises again which shows us that the ultimate healing that he came to do was healing our hearts. I’m a huge fan of being proactive about my health. And I’m a huge fan of asking God to heal me from physical ailments. But when it comes to my spiritual health, I must turn from my own misplaced hopes in all the healing pools this world has to offer and look to him as the healer of my heart.

    What an uplifting reminder. Thank you, Mr. Chad! I look forward to coming back.

  9. Billy says:

    Very interesting analogies. Do I want to be made whole? Certainly. I found in your article that you only have to ask and truly believe that it will happen. The healing process takes time and you must be patient. It does not happen instantly. Thanks for the re-spark.

  10. Chris Capo says:

    It is 6:53 am and we are at the beginning of a nor’easter and reading this article was very uplifting. Look forward to reading more. Maybe this is the best way to start and end each day!
    Thanks

  11. Marylou says:

    Wow, what a powerful post! I have friends and family who had cancer and unfortunately passed away. It is a hard thing to deal with. I do believe in the power of prayer and miracles. When you ask, “do we want to overcome that addiction”? I have a family member that is having a terrible time trying to quit smoking. It doesn’t help that people around her put her down for it. Having an addiction is a hard habit to break. I am there for her, but can only listen and give her my advice. I know she prays, so maybe God will guide her down the path to quitting.

    • Any addiction can be tough to beat, especially smoking. I have several friends and family members who have gone through the battle of trying to overcome the addiction. Some have been successful, some not so much. Ultimately, the ones who beat it did so because they had finally had enough and relied on God’s strength, friends, and family to help them. I’m praying for your family member and their victory!

  12. Kathleen says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I have battled depression most of my life. Now it is well controlled, but I had to realize there was another way to live and then really want to get better before I could begin to find healing and new life. Healing takes work–painful work–but it is worth it! I still have some very dark valleys occasionally, but I’ve learned that God never leaves me or forsakes me. No matter what I feel, He is faithful!

    • Amen! I know full-well what you are going through with the depression. I’ve personally battled anxiety and depression both. But as you pointed out, He is faithful and He never leaves or forsakes us!

  13. Sherri says:

    Chad,
    Your writing style makes this subject easy to understand and relate to.
    I thank you for the insight this article has given me. I now have a new perspective on things in my life.
    Sherri

  14. Angela Griffin says:

    Hi, Chad! I love this article. I can testify to the Lord’s healing in at least three areas of my life, both physical and emotional. I can say with sincerity to others, all you have to do is ask! As you say, you have to want to truly be made whole, and He is waiting for you to ask. Just remember that there’s absolutely nothing that’s too hard for Him to do. He created us; he can certainly heal us!

  15. Roxana J Guy says:

    Fantastic article and website. This really speaks volumes about what the lord does for us. Grace is something that we do not deserve yet when we pursue the Lord and turn from our wickedness, He loves us enough to grant us grace. Great read!

  16. Laura says:

    Very insightful article. I was especially intrigued by your list of reasons people don’t want to get better. Yet many with these exact reasons don’t recognize they actually HAVE these reasons. Your pointing them out might help somebody recognize what the enemy is hiding from them. Then move toward wholeness from there.

    Thanks,
    Laura

    • Once we bury our head in the sand it’s tough to see what’s really going on. I did that for many years myself. Sometimes it takes the set of eyes of a friend/family member to actually help us to see the truth. Then we have to get over the denial and pride that comes along with it. My hope is that this will help people to see things a little bit differently and begin to seek God for true healing.

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