Monday, October 19, 2009

7/1/09

I’m a writer. I LOVE to write. I vividly recall a time in my life where my pen felt like the last available flotation device on a sinking ship…the last chance for life….

I can always tell when I’ve written something that should be shared with others. I certainly don’t say that to boast. It’s just that I can always tell when the words I’ve been given shouldn’t be hoarded, so to speak.   I usually type up these particular writings, but I rarely do anything with them beyond that.

Anyhoo….. following is one of those writings, one of those typed pages that I recently stumbled across.  I pray it will bless someone else as much as it blessed me to re-read.  It was originally written on 7/1/09.

During my devotion this morning, I read John 5:1-15.  Verse 5 stuck out at me.  It reads, “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.Now scripture doesn’t say how old the man was, but he’d had the infirmity for 38 years. Bam!  I’m 37 years old, and time is already flying.  The word “infirmity” in this verse comes from the Greek word “Astheneia”.  Astheneia is translated to mean “feebleness” (of body or mind).  It literally means lacking strength, weakness, infirmity.  When I read that verse of scripture I thought about myself.  I haven’t had a physical weakness for 37 years, but for all intents and purposes I have had a weakness of mind for 37 years.  I’ve been very afraid ALL OF MY LIFE.  I mean all of it.  Fear of this, fear of that…..  Until now….

The man at the pool of Bethesda had an encounter with Jesus (help me Holy Spirit) and his life was never the same.  He was healed, but I like to say he was TRANSFORMED!  He was transformed from his previous state.  He could now stand up straight and walk properly, something he’d not been able to do for THIRTY-EIGHT years.

What effect might this infirmity have had on this man over the 38 years?  Quite possibly he compared himself to every other person who jumped in the water and was healed before him, noting that if he didn’t have this particular ailment he may have been able to jump to transformation long time ago.  I used to believe that if I were more like so and so I’d be doing more in my life.  I had an encounter with Jesus that changed my life.  That’s what ‘s supposed to happen to all of us.  An encounter with Jesus heals the infirmity.

A transforming encounter begins with Christ taking notice of us.  We know this happens before we’re even born according to Jeremiah 1:5; God the Father knew us before we were born.  So Jesus already knew the man had been in this state for a LONG time.  The word doesn’t say how He knew.  It just says He knew.  This man’s transformation began with an encounter with Christ then a question from the Savior.  “Wilt thou be made whole?” (v.6)  The Father, by way of the Holy Spirit, will ask each of us this question.

Let’s go forward in this passage of scripture in John 5.  When Jesus asked this “certain man”…..I think it’s phenomenal that his name was not given.  Often when I see a name omitted in scripture I always think about the fact that quite possibly it is a situation I need to insert my name into.  So as soon as Jesus asks His question, this “certain man” – in one short sentence – relays 38 years of frustration.  Can you imagine sitting beside your healing for 38 years and watching, day in and day out, someone else get the healing before you.  Jesus approached this man at the right time.  After 38 years, no doubt this man was tired and frustrated, wouldn’t you say?  That’s where we have to be sometimes.  We have to be sick and tired of being what?  Sick and tired!  Now I believe we can look at the 38 years this man was trying to get in the water as his process.  Then when he encountered the power of God, transformation occurred.

And such is the story of our lives.  We try year after year to change our own lives, but it isn’t until we encounter the power of God that transformation occurs.

Another thing I noticed….Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be made well.  Instead of the man simply answering “yes”, he began explaining his situation.  It was obvious the man didn’t know who he was talking to (as we discover later in the passage), because if he did, he would have known that a “yes” answer was all he needed to give.  Jesus didn’t even entertain the man’s “see what had happened was….” explanation.  🙂 He simply gave an instruction.  The man was made well on the spot.  Moving to action (taking up his bed and walking) wasn’t what made him well.  Christ made him well.  His move of obedience was his evidence of faith and belief that the transformation of his body had indeed taken place.  The word says immediately he was made well, but he may not have known for certain he was well until he stood, took up his bed and walked!  WOW!  Oh bless the Lord!

The man at the pool of Bethesda spent 38 years waiting for an encounter with a pool, a conduit to his freedom – freedom from his infirmity, his hindrance, his “thorn in the side”.  Instead, on that day, he encountered FREEDOM.  Instead of having to get to the pathway, the means to freedom, freedom stood before him as Jesus the Christ.  Christ was his freedom.  Likewise, Christ died that we might be free.  He’s asking us the same question he asked that “certain man”, and it requires only a “yes” or “no” answer.  In what way do you need to be transformed?  From what do you need to be set free?  Are you positioned for an encounter with freedom, and what will your answer be when He asks, “Wilt thou be made whole?”  Will you proceed to explain your situation or will you simply answer “yes”?