"When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said..." (John 5:6 & & NLT)
The only reason I can think of as to why this man said - "I can't" - is because he didn't know! He hadn't heard about this man claiming to be Messiah. It seems to me that this ignorance can only come from not knowing who is before you and knowing, all too well, your past.
38 years! For 38 years he had been ill. I wonder, how many years had he and his hope camped out beside Bethesda. I wonder, how many years had he watched the waters move and become charged by the Spirit and just wished he could stick out a toe or a finger and be healed. How many years?
It really is no wonder, that after 38 years living with the continuous throb and ache of disappointment, when he found himself staring in the face of salvation Himself, that he didn't recongnize hope burning in the eyes of Jesus. It really is no wonder that after so much suffering and laying on a mat of impossibility that the first words out of his mouth were "I can't."
"I can't," not "Yes please," or "More than you can possibly know" but "I can't."
And how many times have we lay wallowing in our hurt, our pain and discontent rendering us paralyzed? How many times has the focus been so long on what ails us that we don't recongize hope when it is staring us in the eyes? How long have we been steps away from healing but not able to get to the pool? How many times has Jesus called us to live a life free from fear and sin and doubt? How many times has God whispered "Here I am - do you want to be healed?" and our response is "I can't."
This "I can't" has nothing to do with our desire. It's not that we don't want - it's that we truly believe we can't. As if fear has paralyzed and the past has clouded our vision so we can longer see hope.
Reaching out saying, "Yes, please - take this from me," is the gift of the cross. The gift that rises out of the pain and sacrifice that Jesus endured. And this gift, it is ours to take up, to hold, to accept because it has been offered by God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
And my faith leaps with this knowledge. It leaps and shouts - "through Him I can do all things!" I can have assurance that He is there for me!
And so these dreams that beat inside of me, that echo loud in the chamber of my soul?
I believe that when God stirs the waters I can bathe in the confidence that He keeps his promises. That these dreams I have, they are not wishful thinking - no, these dreams deserve legs and a heart willing to look into the eyes of Jesus and instead of "I can't" whisper "More than you can possibly know" and accept the healing that comes from believing.
And when the questions of why or how rear their heads, I will instead, focus on the Who and look for how God is working in my midst and know that "Even when I [lose] my footing, God never stumbles. Not a single tear slip[s] by his sight. Not a single groan escape[s]his ear." - Margaret Feinberg.
***Linking up with Holley Gerth today and sharing our God-sized dreams***