“Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him laying there, and knew that he had already been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well’?” (John 5:5-6)
What a powerful opening verse. When the Spirit first revealed this to me, I was astounded. Coming right on the heels of some recent intensely emotional upheavels, I was even more surprised when I heard through my tears His voice whisper to me again, “do you want to be well”….
The first thing that struck me was in (v. 6) where it says, “Jesus knew” that he had been in that condition a very long time. Have any of you been struggling with something the majority of your life? I know I have, and the revelation of that statement alone made my heart leap within me. Jesus has known all this time of my struggles, even before I knew of Him. How profound is that ….
I love the story of Jesus healing the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. It’s hard for us twenty-first women to imagine such a condition lasting for so long. And the way in which medical science has progressed far beyond the rudimentary knowledge of Jesus’ day; well it is simply unthinkable today ….
But I suggest there are still many women, and men, with chronic bleeding of a different sort. We bleed from the heart. Often from beneath old scars ….
From the time I was five-years-old, my father crept into my bedroom in the dark of night and violated my little body. He invited his friends into the party. He cut me repeatedly. Momma didn’t care. Now, as an adult, my heart still bleeds ….
When Sarah was walking to her dorm room from the college library, lurkers jumped from behind the bushes, dragged her to a nearby shed and raped her at knifepoint. Now, ten years later, her heart still bleeds ….
After twenty-years of marriage, Lucy accidentally stumbled upon a hotel receipt in her husband’s wallet. Suspecting the worse, she uncovered past e-mails, supposed meetings that never occurred and a trail of deceit. When presented with the evidence, her husband admitted having a three-year long affair. And her heart bleeds …
William’s routine physical reveals that he has AIDS. He had never been with a man, and only been with one woman his entire life, faithfully and true …. his wife. And now, his heart bleeds ….
Mike was laid off from his job and his mother’s words re-emerge like sewage leakage from an underground septic tank. “You’re no good. You’ll never amount to anything. You’re a loser just like your father.” And because of the lies, his heart now bleeds ….
Martha holds her newborn little girl in her arms and coos her to sleep. Interrupting the sweetness of the wee hours of the morning, she hears her aborted child crying from the grave. Guilt presses down as the ever-present weight deflates her joy. And her heart bleeds ….
Women and men, both hoping the pain will go away. Many struggling and suffering in silence. Many awakening each day with a memory that cuts a fresh wound. People everywhere, even believers struggling with shame, guilt, remorse, and insecurities. More than we can imagine bleeding from wounds left unhealed and scars unseen. Unable to rest. Women and men — longing to hear the words “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering. Your faith has made you well” ….
The woman with the issue of blood in (Matthew 9:20-22) was no different from you and me. While her apparent illness was physical, her inward suffering ruled her life. But in one radical moment, one momentous decision, she reached out to Jesus and grabbed hold of her healing. Does that mean that because we suffer we automatically have a lack of faith? Well, I dare say no …..
I have struggled over a lifetime with physical and emotional disabilities as a result of my traumas from childhood. Yes, Jesus knew, and that hit me powerfully hard; though I was never aware of a Redeemer through most of my life, even still He was there, and since giving my heart and life to my Lord only a mere three years ago, my faith has taken me through many peaks and valleys. Yet, I still struggle with a soul sickness and a bleeding heart, while He asks, “do you want to be made well?” Can any one of us truthfully say no to that?
He wants to set us free from our prison of suffering, but He will not push us out of the cell. He unlocks the jail cell, but we must walk out the door. Many of us, myself included, are captive in the worst prison: held hostage in the prison of our own minds. It is about faith and it is about choices, but even more importantly; more often is about the wait and the trust ….
We can choose to bleed. We can choose to remain in our suffering and pick at the scabs of the past. But hear me dear friend, it is a choice. Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). That’s what He wants for each of us. But we have to embrace the truth and, like the woman with the twelve-year-bleeding, reach for our healing. We must break free from these strongholds and accusing memories that still control us. It may be a stretch for you of little faith, yet, not unattainable. Remember, mustard seed faith moves mountains ….
As we read in our opening passage found in (John 5), Jesus encounters a lame man sitting by a pool of water where the paralyzed, blind, and afflicted gathered. They believed that when supposed angels stirred the waters, the first one in the pool would be healed. For thirty-eight years this man sat in his sickness — Then Jesus walked up to him and asked a strange question, “Do you want to get well?” ….
Perhaps it was not such a strange question after all. Sadly, there are many who like the victim mindset. They’ve grown comfortable with their sorrow. Many times we get used to being sick and wear it like a shroud. Emotionally we are the walking wounded — victims who pick as scabs — not allowing them to heal. As I pondered this, I realized that this has been me for fifty-two years, until Jesus asked me that very same question last night …..
Jesus said to that woman, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” That is the same emotional healing He offers to you and to me this very day ….
I challenge you to study these passages. I would encourage you that you not become frustrated with the process nor allow the enemy to whisper his lies in your ear. Understand, the battle will increase and attacks may become more fierce if you make the choice to surrender your pain, your sorrow and all that is causing your bleed from a soul sickness ….
Your adversary does not want you to rise victoriously above your burdens. He wants you weak, defeated, and unable to pray, to read the Word. Faith comes by hearing the Word. I pray that you, my readers, followers, and friends, may find the strength and courage to make a decision today and kneel at the Master’s feet to give Him your burdens and sorrows. Keep praying, even when only the tears will flow, keep speaking thanks and praise, even when your voice shakes, and keep standing by faith in the midst of raging emotions, even when your knees tremble. Know that regardless, you are never walking alone. Jesus knows. And even should I never receive my breakthrough, He has saved me and Redeemed me for such a time as this, therefore, I say, “Nevertheless, Thine will be done — not mine that He may be glorified through my suffering …..
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)