"A certain man was there who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, 'Do you want to be made whole?" (John 5:5-6)
You may have heard the old story (a fable to be sure) about the father who knocks on his son's door. "James" he says, "wake up!" James answers, "I don't want to get up, Papa."
The father shouts, "Get up. You have to go to school." James says, "I don't want to go to school." "Why not?" asks the father. "Three reasons," says James. "First, because it's so dull; second, the kids tease me; and third, I hate school."
And the father replies, "Well, I am going to give you three reasons why you must go to school. First, because it is your duty; second, because you are forty-five years old, and third, because you are the headmaster."
When I ask people in seminars how many believe that God has a purpose for their life, most will raise their hand. But when I ask how many know what it is, only a few have any idea what it might be, and even fewer have clearly defined it. Most say they want to know what it is but don't diligently seek God to discover what it is.
Many people say they want to overcome their problems too, but are not prepared to do their part to make it happen. Even the best psychologists will tell you that "people don't really want to be cured. What they want is relief; a cure is too painful." One surgeon said that many patients who come to him with a problem would rather that he operate on their body than they operate on their lifestyle, and that only about 25 percent of his patients accept responsibility for their wellness.
Jesus didn't say, "Do you wish to be made well, but rather, do you want to be made well?" To be made well needs to be more than a wish. It needs to be a true desire, with determination and commitment to do what one has to do to get well. As a Chinese proverbs puts it, "Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the want to get well in every area of my life, and reveal to me any areas of resistance so I can deal with these issues, and accept full responsibility for my wellness. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)