Asking a question like this of someone who is suffering and has suffered for a very long time from a debilitating and dreadful disease might seem cruel and heartless.
Afterall, who doesn't want to be made well when they are sick? Are there people who might actually prefer their pain and suffering to health and well being?
Before you get the idea I am totally heartless, let me just reveal the truth.
I didn't ask this question of anyone.
Then who did? you may wonder.
It was the question he asked a man who had suffered from some terrible infirmity for 38 years!
John 5: 1-9
After this there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus wet up to Jerusalem. Now there was in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed waiting for the moving of the water.
for an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made well of whatever disease he had.
Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity THIRTY EIGHT YEARS! (emphasis mine) WOW! That is a very long time to be sick!
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time He said to him, "Do You want to be made well?"
The sick man answered him " Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool ;when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming another steps down before me."
I find it interesting that this mans answer was not a resounding YES!, but instead, an excuse of why in 38 years he hasn't been made well!
What would you have answered?
Is it possible that we are so comfortable in our infirmities where little is expected of us , where much is done FOR US, where there is little to no demand made upon us, that we, too would have offered Jesus an excuse for remaining as we are rather than grabbing hold of the opportunity to heal and grow and move forward?
Is it possible that we simply don't care enough to do the deeper, harder work of lining our own thoughts, words and actions up with the Christian belief we claim?
I think we can all agree that none of us is "there yet", however, it is just as appropriate to say that there should be some kind of evidence that we are on our way to that standard the Lord puts in front of us as a challenge! "Be ye holy as I am holy."
Verse 8: Jesus said to him, "Take up your bed and walk."
Do you hear Him giving you a similar command? No excuses, just take charge of the words you speak! Take control of the way you treat others! Forgive as you have been forgiven! Give grace as grace has been made yours!
We slip, but are we taking steps to STOP SLIPPING? To be a christian is as simple as calling on the name of Jesus. To LIVE Christian is to surrender to the Holy Spirit to be changed, TRANSFORMED, by the Word of God!
Honestly? That's the hardest work of all!