Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pool of Bethesda Part 2

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 5:3, 5-6

If you don’t happen to follow my Light for the Journey blog, you missed my introduction to today’s scripture passage. A few weeks ago my women’s bible study discussed the story of the man healed at the pool of Bethesda. Please click here to read Friday’s blog post or today’s entry won’t make much sense.

It was a relief that next morning to be free of the false mindset that the man’s healing had been earned. In his sovereignty, God heals out of compassion, mercy and grace. But if the healing was simply a gift, free and unearned, why did Jesus walk amongst the multitudes of broken lives and heal only one?

That question hidden deep in my heart lay at the core of my angst. My discomfort ran much deeper than just disappointment at my friend’s responses. My angst was directed at God himself. Having walked the journey with my boys who now live with Jesus, this story touched me deeply. For I was one of those who experienced Jesus’ presence and comfort, but he never offered the healing I desired. I was one left behind.

Realizing the true issue cracked the dam and I broke down sobbing. I had just endured an extremely emotional weekend a few days prior- facing milestones and anniversaries involving both of my boys. The emotional tumult left me raw. I desperately missed my boys and here again I had to face their loss knowing it could have been different.

Several thoughts came to mind almost simultaneously. First and foremost were the words of Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I serve him.”

A song whispered through my mind. “Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed by the name of the Lord.”

The Holy Spirit questioned me as well. “Why do you love me? Why do you worship? Why do you serve?”

As I sobbed out my pain, truth rose up within me.
“My grace is sufficient for thee.”

As the study pointed out, God whispered, the most important part is that Jesus came. Jesus came to the sick and the suffering. You know, Juli, that I desire only your best. I will not give you lesser things. I do not deny things in meanness, but in love; for I will give you nothing but my best for you. I have a plan for each person. I have a plan to heal their brokenness – not the brokenness of their bodies but of their soul. I will give each person the exact comfort and healing they individually need to reach their potential in me. My grace is enough. For this man, healing his body was a necessary step to healing his soul. But only I know what is best for each person. This is where faith is required. This is where you must trust.

But even when you do not understand, will you still worship? Do you serve for what I can do? Or do you serve because of who I am? My answer to you is the same I gave my disciple Peter. Of what concern is it to you, what I decide for another? If I am sovereign, if I am all I am, is it not my privilege to do whatever I desire? I am sovereign and I am good. In my love for you, I will give you nothing less than my best. Will you trust me with that which you don’t understand?

It helped to know what I faced, to be honest about the source of my pain. I knew God remained present. I didn’t run away from him, nor he abandon me. We just sat there together -God being present, I recognizing his presence, but still hurting. I knew all the truth I needed to answer my question. But it didn’t instantly relieve the pain.

We stayed that way all day as I moved through my work day and evening. Picture the pouty child snuggling into their parent’s lap. The child gains comfort from the parent’s presence, but the decision still disturbs them.

By the next morning I was ready. I had to confess my jealousy. I had to let go of my expectation for what I thought God should do. I had to decide why I worshiped, why I served.

I journaled my heart and thoughts in a prayer to God for over a half hour that morning. Two key ideas emerged from our time together. In the words from my journal…
“There IS no one like you, as powerful, as deserving, as true, as loving. You would walk through a field of broken and offer the perfect comfort to each there – perfect for your plan for that individual one. We struggle when we forget your plan is not one towards happiness and comfort and temporary pleasures, but rather towards eternal riches of joy, contentment, intimacy, and the manifestation of you, your character within us…

We can trust that in your greatness and love, your perfect and excellent plan will come to pass and be fulfilling and glorious for each of us. As we live out your purpose, we get the benefit of being connected to you. You are enough. You are all we need. You do not give each person the same path, but you fairly and equally give each person the same of you. Help my heart grasp that. No aspect of life, no pleasure, no purpose, no passion will fulfill, satisfy and complete me like YOU. That is what you fairly and equally offer each person.”

Although it had taken a while for my feelings to catch up to my knowledge, I could now declared my dependence and love. God did heal my boys, just in his presence rather than mine. And through the entire ordeal he gave me all of himself to get me and my boys through every single storm. He is fair and just.

Regardless of what he does in his sovereign plan, he IS who he says he is. He is all powerful, eternal, infinite, compassionate, loving, gracious, and faithful. He is sovereign. Thus he can do whatever he wants, whatever he thinks is best. And because he is sovereign, because he is all he is, he deserves my worship… for no other reason than who he is.

As a song states, when you cannot see God’s hand, that’s when you trust his heart. I do not know why healing was not the best answer for the multitudes by the pool of Bethesda. But God does. I will trust his heart because of who he is.

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