When I read that statement, the first thing that I thought was: "Really Jesus, what kind of question is that? Of course, everybody wants to be healed!" I almost felt as if Jesus had insulted the man by asking him that, but of course, it would not align with the character of Jesus' to insult a paralytic in that manner. As I thought and prayed about Jesus' statement, I realized that my healing process has taken a long time. I'm fifty-five years old and realize that I didn't even know that I was broken and un-healthy emotionally until I was forty-nine. I'm much better now, but still a work in progress. So, as in my case several years ago, some people don't even know that they are sick. That, however, was not the case for that man; he knew he was broken. That was why he showed up at the pool, waiting for the water to be stirred every day for thirty-eight years.
So, I asked myself and God this question, why would anyone not want to be healed? I'm sure that man had gotten pretty used to hanging out at the pool all day during the thirty-eight years he had been there. He probably had a routine that he went through and had a lot of friends there to talk to and commiserate with. He had become accustomed to living the life of brokenness. These are the reasons I believe God showed me for people not wanting to be healed:
1. Many people have been in their broken condition so long that it has actually become their comfort zone. They get used to it, and it may be safer for them and take much less energy if they just continue to stay in their dysfunction. If you actually get healed you won't be able to just sit on you mat all day and watch life blow by you. You will actually have to take part in life and life can be painful, because I have discovered that life is all about relationship and relationships can be very messy and very painful. I know a lot of people in that "safe" boat. In John 10: 10, Jesus says the that he came to give us the abundant life, but that the thief would try to steal it from us. The thief wants us to stay broken. He knows that grace is all about relationship and doesn't want a healthy bunch of disciples running around showing people how great loving relationships can be when Jesus Christ is the head of them. The abundant life is not safe, I know that by looking at how Jesus lived his life. In living the abundant life Jesus modeled for us, you probably will get hurt. He got crucified, which from my understanding is one of the most painful ways to die. But, if you want to be a true disciple, you have to step out of the boat and follow the rabbi that walked on water, or get up off your mat and walk when He tells you to. Neither one of those things seem very safe to me, but, oh the thrill of living life walking in the way Jesus has asked us to and modeled for us!
2. The healing process is hard work, may be painful, and may cost money. The main message of one of my favorite books, The Shack, is that in order to be healed, we have to allow God to take us back to our place of pain, because that is the only place where true healing can occur. Pain is not fun, and most of us spend most of our life trying to avoid it at all cost. But, to be healed we have to be willing to face the source of our pain and allow the Great Physician to heal us. After reading a book called, Healing the Masculine Soul by Gordon Dalby, I was prompted to use a process called theophostic (meaning "God light") prayer where one asks God to show him or her situations in life where the enemy deceived them into believing a lie and, once God reveals that, to ask Him to show you the spiritual truth of that situation. Another way to facilitate healing is professional counseling, which I have found to be very helpful in my life. I went to counseling for several years after my third divorce and have never regretted one cent I spent on it. My counselor was a man in Roswell named Skeet Stokes and he is the one that turned me onto the book that I just mentioned. A third option is a group such as one that I went to for about 3 years called the Samson Society or one of the many groups such as divorce care that are offered by local churches.
3. You may have to allow someone to help you with the healing process. I sure the man at the pool had to have someone to bring him to the pool, but why didn't he ask the person to stay at the pool and help him get in when the water was stirred. He probably didn't want to be a bother, but as Christians, we are called to care for one another and consider others as more important than ourselves. Knowing this why wouldn't we ask a brother or sister in Christ to help us. Could it be pride? Please do not be too proud to allow someone who cares for you to assist you in your healing process if you need it. I promise, if they love you and care for you, it will be a blessing to them to be able to help. The help they can provide may be anything from keeping your children for you while you go to a meeting or helping you pay for counseling.
We all know that Jesus came to save us from our sins, but the Greek word translated "to save" has a much deeper meaning. The word translated "to save" in the New Testament is "zoso" in the Greek, which not only means to save us from our sins but also to make us well and whole again. Many churches have "zoso" ministries that work in much the same way as theophostic prayer, but is done through others praying for you and hearing words from God for you.
In Luke 4: 16-20, one of the first things Jesus did in ministry, if not the first thing, was to read from the book of Isaiah. He was handed a scroll of the book of Isaiah and read chapter 61 verse 1 and 2 (very interesting that he left off the second part of verse two...that could be an upcoming blog). Here is what he read (my emphasis in italics):
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lords favor...
Jesus came to give us abundant life and heal us so that we can live it. The question he is asking is: "Do you want to be healed?"
Yours in Christ,