There is a story in the Bible I have always found interesting. It is – “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem … Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, ….. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?'” John 5.1-6
I always wondered why Jesus asked the man if he wanted to get well? What kind of a question is this? It has always seemed odd to me that someone who has been ‘not well’ – especially for 38 years – just may not want to ‘get well.’ When I analyze it, I think perhaps the man never imagined he could be well. Perhaps he was used to being ‘not well’ and did not know how he would be if he were well because being ‘not well’ was all he ever knew. Perhaps he did not think it was even possible to be well – for many reasons. Maybe his illness was incurable, maybe the time he had been ill discouraged him, or maybe other reasons.
I have been very lucky to know God and been healed by Him. About thirty years ago, I suffered from a great depression that caused me to want to end my life. I did not know why I was depressed and the condition continued for five years with no hope of being well or free from the depression. I did not know where to turn and no one I knew seemed to know what was wrong with me and why I was suffering so badly.
The Bible states, “My people perish for lack of knowledge..” (Hosea 4.6) This told me that there was something I did not know that was causing my pain and suffering. I began to search for the reasons and read and availed myself to the help that is in books I read and meetings I attended. I discovered the ‘punishment necessary for me to have peace was placed on my Savior the day they crucified Him…’ (Isaiah 53.5). He provided my peace with His sacrifice.
I had problems that were causing me harm, but I had been in the behavior patterns so long, not only did I not even realize how damaging the patterns were, change was uncomfortable, frightening, and difficult to say the least. But, if I was going to live and ‘be well,’ I had to change what I was doing to be healed. I obeyed God and the depression left without medication or hospitalization and has not been back in thirty years.
I am not perfect and struggle every day to make my Father proud of me and show Him how thankful I am that He saved my life. He assures me that His love is Everlasting and He in Unconditional Love and Acceptance. I see others struggling with similar things, but when I try to share, it seems to me they do not ‘want to be well.’ This confuses me. When I struggled and found an answer, I was elated. I hope if you struggle with addiction, depression, anxiety, negative behaviors or any other struggle, you find your answers and realize God is always the Answer to all our struggles.
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