Stand Up, Pick Up Your Mat, and Walk!

In John 5, we learn of a man who has been sick and lying at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years.  The pool was constantly surrounded by those who were blind, lame, or paralyzed and in need of healing.  When the waters would bubble up, they believed the first person into the pool would be healed.  Jesus sees this man and knows he has been ill for a long time, and He asks him, “Would you like to get well?”  “I can’t, sir,” the man explains, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up.  Someone always gets there ahead of me.”  (John 5:6-7)  Jesus tells the man, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” and instantly, the man is healed.  (John 5:8-9)

For 38 years, that man prayed for healing and spent his days by that pool, hoping that someone would give up their chance to go into the pool first in order to help him.  If he was going to be healed, he expected that it would happen the traditional way – by someone placing him into the pool.  He probably spent a lot of time praying for God to get him into that pool somehow.  When Jesus asked him if he would like to get well, the man may have thought that Jesus would help him get into the pool.  I’m quite certain that never in a million years did the man think that Jesus would just tell him to stand up, and that when he obeyed, he would instantly be well.

So many times we want or need something from God, and we have a picture of exactly when and how it’s going to happen.  When it doesn’t happen that way or as quickly as we expect, we can feel frustrated, impatient, and even angry with God.  But we need to remember that we are looking at things through our limited human viewpoints, forgetting that God may have a plan so crazy and incomprehensible that it is far beyond anything we could have ever dreamed up ourselves.

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

I think sometimes we are like the man at the pool of Bethesda.  We pray daily for Jahar’s salvation, and in our human minds – we have visualized exactly how it is going to happen – and when it doesn’t…when things seem to be getting worse instead of better…we get frustrated and start to lose hope.  But maybe God has a “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” plan for Jahar that is far beyond anything we could have conceived of with our own imaginations.  Take heart brothers and sisters – He has a plan that is more amazing than we could ever imagine, and His timing is always perfect.

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