Has God ever asked you a question so clearly that you squirmed with the discomfort of it?
A number of years back, I was sitting in church. That morning my rejection issues rose up and called me condemned.
Peoples’ words and compliments filtered through that rejection lens and came through as warped and untrue. I doubted any good thing said, and pain burrowed into my heart.
All of a sudden this question shouted in my mind:
“Do you want to be made well?”
Of course I wanted to be made well. To not struggle with the thoughts and the emotions that flooded me.
Jesus asked this question of the man laying near the Pool of Bethesda. He’d been sick for thirty-eight years (See John 5).
Did Jesus even have to ask if he wanted to be made well? Of course he did!
Maybe the man was justifying his situation because he wanted Jesus to understand, to agree to sit with him and help him to the pool when the angel stirred the waters.
Maybe he didn’t know who Jesus was.
Doesn’t God still do this sometimes? He asks a question that should have an obvious answer.
But, maybe we’ve been living with the condition for a long time.
Maybe the scars of abuse have impacted us our entire lives. Maybe we’ve dealt with an illness for years. Maybe we’ve been out of a job for months.
And He asks the question, “Do you want____?”
The man’s answer fascinates me. He may have had only a smidgen of hope left. He was laying by the healing pool, after all. But he didn’t dare hope he could actually be the one to be healed.
He was stuck in the mindset that he knew.
Sometimes, for our prayers to be fully answered, God must shift our perspective from what seems to be to what could be.
Sometimes He needs to shake us out of our “this-is-the-way-it-will-always-be” mindset before we can envision the changes He could make . . . if we choose to put our faith in Him.
Making excuses for why we are where we are feels safer than risking and hoping things could be different.
We attempt to control our circumstances by not earnestly hoping—not fervently trusting—that God can do that which our heart secretly longs for.
When God asks that question, “Do you want______?” He’s inviting us into a deeper relationship with HIm.
It’s an invitation to trust the Creator of all things with the hurts on our heart,
. . . the desires we’ve held close,
. . . the needs we’ve struggled with.
Are we willing to say, “Yes, I want to be healed? I want to be cared for? I want to be free?”
Unless our answer is yes, we can never know the miracles God may do in our lives.
Jesus must have seen the man’s heart. Maybe His words were a test. He told the man, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
The man had a choice . . . He could continue to lie there because, of course, he couldn’t walk.
Or, he could act on Jesus’ words.
Perhaps this man saw something in Jesus that gave him the confidence to trust Him.
God’s more than able to—without a word—touch that wounded place in our lives and call it healed.
But, He desires relationship. Sometimes, God tests us, not immediately giving what He knows we want.
God invites us to take a step into the unknown and trust that He’ll be there to meet us, to walk with us, to help us.
Here’s what it comes down to . . . how will we answer His question: “Do you want___?”
I grappled with this question the morning God asked. I yearned to be made well. But that meant I would have to trust Him to renew my mind, to help me see interactions through His eyes, rather than through my distorted filter.
Saying yes in my case has led me on a step-by-step path toward healing in my heart and thoughts.
When we seek relationship with Jesus . . .
When we believe and act on His word . . .
He meets us in our uncertainty—in our need—and brings healing and restoration to the broken places in our lives.
What about you? When has God challenged you with a question? What helps you to choose to trust in God when He’s showing you a change in your life?