The Glorious Question….what’s your answer?

I think one of the most glorious questions in history is the one Jesus asked the invalid of 38 years in John 5:

Do you want to be healed?

Imagine!  The creator of the universe asking this man that question!   But it isn’t a question he asks only of this man.  He asks it to every one of us.

Do you want to be healed?  Do you want to be made well?  Do you want to be whole?    How we respond to that question is every bit as important as the glory of the question itself.

That Jesus has to ask the question speaks volumes, doesn’t it?  I know from personal experience that the answer to that question is not always what we might expect.    The reason for this is explained just 2 chapters prior to this story:

And this is the judgment: the light has come in to the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil (John 3:19)

Jesus is always asking the glorious question to us, every day,  and we often tell him no.   It’s true that the reason is because we love our sin more than God.   Like Gollum with his Precious, we are not keen on parting from the thing which has become our favorite god, the thing we have bowed to time after time.   Even though it threatens to destroy us and everyone we love, we cling to it nonetheless.

gollum

Do you want to be healed?    The question offers us a promise that seems too good to be true because we know how evil we are.   We know the power of our Precious.   It has held our attention for so long, with such intensity, that the thought of it being gone from our lives invites all sorts of other questions:    What will I do without it?   What will be expected of me if I’m healed?   What will I run to when I feel alone?  And the big one…

What if it doesn’t work? 

Isn’t that the biggest fear?   What happens if you put all your eggs in the basket named Jesus and it doesn’t work?  What if you step out in faith, go all-in, take the plunge, and you discover that there is no one there to catch you?

If you feel that way you are not alone.  I remember feeling that way, and I talk to many others who do, too.   Particularly if they are professing Christians.    The reasons come in many shapes and sizes but can generally be summed up one of two ways:  We love our sin too much to want to be healed and/or we are afraid God cannot make good on his promise to heal us.    We have more faith in the power of our sin than we do the power of God to heal.   It’s as though we want to protect God from failure.    Oh, how prideful we are!  Is there any limit to our evil?   

This is why for so many of us it is not until we are at the end of our rope that we will say yes to the question, Do you want to be healed?   It won’t be until we have exhausted every other resource, every other “program,” every other step, and have hurt everyone who loves us that we will then hear the question as though for the first time and cry out like the invalid of 38 years, “Sir, I have no one else!”

When we realize there is no one else, we lose the fear of falling into nothing because we see our sin has already brought us there.   I remember when I first heard the words, “God hasn’t brought you to this point to just make you better, but to make you new.”    I so desperately wanted those words to be true!   Though I couldn’t imagine it could be true of me, I knew that either God had to do a miracle in my heart or I was dead.    There was no one else.  I had tried it all.   God was either going to prove Himself as more powerful than my Precious, or there was no God, and the gospel was pointless.

Thanks be to God, He has been more than faithful!   His word is true, and His promises are real.   He says to you and I time and time again throughout Scripture, in fact, more times than any other command, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

If you have heard Jesus ask you the glorious question, do you want to be healed?  tell him yes!    Do not be afraid, for He is with you, and will never leave nor forsake you.   Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)….not even defeating your Precious and creating a new mind and heart inside of you.

Do you want to be healed?   

healing

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One thought on “The Glorious Question….what’s your answer?

  1. It does not serve to give pat answers to what ails us, and I appreciate that you don’t do that here, Chad. It is hard, unimaginably hard to relinquish some things and to find strength to overcome others- that is why we are desperate for Our Savior. There is no point in the authentic Christian experience where I just ‘decide’ to be holy and shazam! it happens. This is a process of conformation to the image of of Jesus through the change accomplished by grace in union with God, and while it is a partnership, it is more about Him and what He is doing than it is about me and what I think I want in the moment. I find that the work God is doing- the growth into God that I am experiencing, means becoming one with Him, united seamlessly in perfect love- this necessitates participating in His Passion, and redemption. Jesus came to save us from sin, to undo its consequences- we have to do the same thing and that means we will each one of us suffer in union with Him in a unique and specific way according to our particular mission for participating in His redemptive work- this is why our future includes sharing in His sovereign reign in heaven- we will wear His crown, both by gift and Divine right according to how we participate, through a response of love, to His grace. My goal is to love Him as perfectly as He will help me to love Him, and to beg Him for an ever increasing desire to be filled with Him- with His presence, with His power and with His heart for the lost- to become Him, as me, to the world. St. Catherine of Siena was a great example of this and she wrote extensively about it in The Dialogue. Ultimately though, while I want so much to say the motto for this process is the cry of the heart in an ecstatic outburst, ‘LOVE! Oh how I love you, Lord!’; it is also the exhortation and demand from within, ‘Suffer well, my soul! Suffer well!’

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