I have read his story since I was a child, but still am always amazed that the man sitting at the pool of Bethesda stayed there 38 years! I think about all sorts of ways I could have gotten myself into that pool....scooting an inch a day? A friend? A relative? Don't get me wrong...I totally understand the concept of "standing" and "waiting" on the promises of God to be fulfilled in your life, or waiting on that prophecy you got 10 years ago to come to pass while you don't jump ahead of God. From reading this guy's story though, I don't get the sense that he was waiting on any promise, or even that he was aware that there was a promise keeper who would be sent to make him well! I think if we take a look at what he was focused on, we get a glimpse of what could be hindering some of our progress!
The Bible lets us know that "a great multitude" of sick people were gathered at this pool. So many times those of us who are broken in an area do the same thing. We surround ourselves with other broken people. As the old saying still goes, "birds of a feather, flock together!" Have you ever noticed that gossipers rarely hang with those who refuse to participate with them. If you have a need today, surround yourself with the people who challenge the "status quo". People who refuse to let you stay the same, but stir, encourage, and lift you to places that left to yourself you would not go. Statistics tell us that we become the average of the 5 closest people to us in life. Who are your 5? Are they moving you towards "better" things? Are they helping you be great, awesome, and better than you were yesterday? If not, you may need to go find a different crowd!
Often times we remain broken because we pay more attention to what we don't have than what we do. The healer was having a conversation with the sick man, and instead of recognizing the potential offered him by the life changer, the man offers Jesus an excuse. "There is no man to put me in." How many times have we found ourself in the same predicament? Jesus converses with us about the potential of a great promise and we bombard Him with the list of excuses we live our life by (all the "I can't because I tried before and I failed and so and so didn't help me and I ran out of money and its too late and etc...etc...etc..." comments). Excuses hinder us from being able to focus on the reality of who He is, what He is able to do, and where our strength really resides. Whatever excuse you are holding onto today I encourage you to let go of. Change your focus and watch what He can do.
This man sounds like he could be living in 2019! If we are doing one thing well, it is creating a culture full of blame! Apparently someone keeps "stepping in front of him", hindering his progress. Again the 38 year thing becomes astounding to me...but we will move on. My husband won't pick his clothes up, and that is why I am mad. My children keep arguing and that's why I yell! My wife spent all my money, and that's why I'm leaving. My boss, my mom, my friend, the government, my family, my teacher, my neighbor, they all keep hindering me! Sound familiar? If you live your life letting other people control you, your emotions, and your responses to God's promises, you will always come up short. The enemy is a pro at making sure to use people to irritate you. You must remember that our battle is not with flesh or people, but with good ole Satan himself, whose aim is to keep us without! Stop giving him the upper hand by blaming others.
Thank God for Jesus...who is always seeking and saving those who are lost. He shows up and does a miracle for this guy despite his cloudy vision. I love that about our God! I can't help but wonder though what his story would have been if his focus had been shifted a bit earlier...Praying for us all that God would continue to give us eyes to see and perhaps we can shorten our waiting times a little bit as well!