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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Do You Want to Be Healed?

John 5:2-6 (ESV)
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed waiting for the moving of the water4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water; whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever he had. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 

Isn't this an unusual question? The man is waiting for the stirring of the water. Jesus knows that he has been there a long time. What would the man be there for if he didn't want to be healed? Is it possible that some people get so caught up in the steps which should bring healing that they don't know what they would do if they were truly healed?

I have a Jack Russell Terrier. As a younger dog she would chase any animal that had the misfortune of entering our yard. I noticed that she chased with veracity until she got so close that she might catch her prey. I think she enjoyed the chase but didn't know what to do if she was ever successful.

Some people want to be healed in theory but not in practice. They will come to healing services and seem to desire healing but have no plans what they will do if they are healed. They like the chase but don't know what to do if they ever caught healing. They may even like the attention their illness provides. Healing means giving up the sickness handicap. It means going to work, helping others and filling your time with healthy things.

I don't know if every ill person knows this. They might not realize what they when they are healthy. This man's time was filled with waiting and trying to get into the water. Others' time may be filled with chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis, psychotherapy or any other treatments. And these treatments may be the hand of God touching them for healing. God also uses treatments like these to heal.

But what happens when you no longer have to go for treatments after you have done so for so long? You can get addicted to the treatments too.

So, I believe Jesus asked a very important question to a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Asking whether or not he wanted to be healed makes perfect sense.

How about you? Do you want to be healed? Healed from cancer, heart disease or mental illness which you may not have caused? Healed from drug, alcohol, pornography or sex addiction which you may have caused? Healed from an injury or a mental breakdown? Healed from a hurt so deep that you can neither sleep nor eat properly?

Do you really want to be healed? What would you do if you are healed?


Y Watts said...

I have to tell you that this topic is so timely. It is scary to let go of something that has been a part of you, a piece of you. Our sins, hangups, and handicaps are also our comfort; it's who we are, who we have become. To see these just die off is like death itself. Now what? Carnality is comfortable. It's what we know. But Holiness? Something has to die to get there. So it's not just spiritual, physical, or mental sickness, it's everything to do with the fact that "old things are passed away; behold, all things become new." You're right. When our house becomes swept and cleaned we need to have a plan because . . .

high-expressions said...

Why at all do we want to ask such a question – Do you want to be healed?

It is because there is a possibility that the sick no longer desires healing, or that he/she has given up or just about given up on the hope of a cure.

Generally, we really are unable to help people who do NOT want to be helped, or heal people who do NOT want to be healed or do NOT think that they are sick.

A person who thinks that he/she is NOT sick, will NOT go see a doctor, and doctors cannot help him/her since he/she is NOT coming in, for diagnosis, even. At times, however, he could be present before the doctors, but it is NOT because he really wanting to see the doctor for his condition.

So, we ask the question for one of the following reasons:
1. The sick no longer wants to be healed, although he/she can be in the midst of others wanting healing. For a number of reasons, such a person can be found with those wanting healing. So, you ask that question – “Do you want to be healed?”
2. The sick might have given up or just about given up on the hope of a cure. Such a person can be found among those who still hope to be cured. One who has given up or just about given up, can be expected to linger for a while, still amongst those who still hope for healing. Because of the half-heartedness, we ask, “Do you want to be healed?”
3. Then there are those who do NOT want to be helped or be healed (it can be for a number of reasons; a few, we will look at, below), even though they are found among those who want to be healed. You might want to “jolt” them with that question.
4. There are those who are there, at the place, but they do NOT think they are sick. They are there, NOT that they think they are sick, but that someone else is in need; they could be facilitator, even. They do NOT think they are sick, but they are; and so, if you know they are sick, you probably ask, “Do you want to be healed?”

It is also interesting to note that when something is NOT regarded as bad by the person, the person is NOT likely to abandon or give up on the thing. For example, if a person does NOT think that drinking much soft drink is bad for him, he will NOT drink less or give it up, and turn instead, to plain water, for example.

There is then the concept of dependency. There is the healthy dependency and the unhealthy dependency. And of course, there are shades of positive and negative dependency. To be dependent on God, for example, is NOT unhealthy; in fact, it is commonly encouraged in the life of a believer. However, such dependency can develop to the extreme end until it becomes unhealthy as to incapacitate a person; the person refuses to think and act, and effort. In other words, he throws everything back into God's court, so to speak, and that would be unhealthy. Pertaining to the discussion here is perhaps, the concept of "acquired" unhealthy dependency. By "acquired", it means like, at first, a person does NOT fancy wines generally, and then, after some times of drinking, he acquires a liking for wines, or certain category of wines. For example, some people develop an unhealthy dependency on domestic maids. They used to be ok with doing the array of domestic chores in the house, but now no longer, and even disdain to have anything to do with the chores.


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

Other words meaning more or less, similar shades of things, included as words like “become addicted”, “become having a craving for”, “acquire a mentality of indispensability of a person or thing”. Now, again, I say, it is sometimes, NOT easy to simply be able to tell a case has shifted into the unhealthy side of the meter, and at times, professional help or discernment is needed. But there are many cases of development of unhealthy acquired dependencies.

I have heard my former Senior Pastor said to an elderly man on scooter-type wheelchair in church coming up for prayer at the front of the sanctuary, this: "Why do you keep sitting on this thing. You can walk, walk." But the man just ignored the advice, and we continued to see the man using the scooter-wheelchair to move around. I heard my pastor saying to those beside him, that, that gentleman could walk. So, you see, the man might have acquired a "taste for the scooter-wheelchair" and did NOT want really to come off, it. He had developed an "acquired" dependency on the scooter-wheelchair; and an unhealthy one, in the view of the Senior Pastor, but apparently NOT in the view of that man. Did or did NOT the man want to be made strong again, or be healed? People in such scenarios, at times, need to be given the "jolt" - Do you want to be healed?

Sometimes, “innocent” common sense becomes an issue. For example, nothing wrong with this: “You get yourself thirsty, you get to drink water”. People don’t try to get themselves thirsty. Isn’t it true, many don’t want to get themselves thirsty, so that they don’t have to drink water? Problem may come when it becomes, “You get yourself thirsty, you get to drink a ‘drink you like’”. My boy, for example, would get himself thirsty so that he could get to drink soft-drink. Because soft-drink is to his liking, he gets himself thirsty again and again, so that he gets to drink soft-drink! The point is that a normal wheelchair may NOT be appealing or a plain water drink may NOT, too; but a scooter-wheelchair or a soft-drink may. So, when it was previously NOT ok to be NOT able to move about comfortably, unaided, now it becomes ok; also so, when it was previously NOT ok to get yourself thirsty, now it becomes ok. The acquired dependency of the scooter-wheelchair or the soft-drink has overtaken the burdensomeness of inability to walk unaided or the same, of making yourself thirsty or getting yourself stay thirsty. In such a scenario, the person needs to be given the “jolt”, for his original hunger was no longer strong enough - the hunger to get strong again on his limbs has lessen; the desire to keep himself not thirsty, is no longer important! Another similar example can be for some people who are sick, the attention they receive, can be so strong an acquired unhealthy dependency that they can be no longer eagerly wanting to be well!

Ps Prentis’ use of his dog as an illustration, brought to mind, what I observed as a boy, concerning how my cat "played around" a rat, it caught! Apparently, the cat's hunger was NOT strong enough; well I did feed my cat, NOT with rats, though. But there were rats in the house or in the compound of the house (I then was living in a sawmill village). The cat would, like Ps Prentis' dog, chased the rat around, bounced on it, and then let it go, and then chased it, and often when the rat pretended like it was dead, the cat would scratch at it, and I would see the rat raced off, and the cat would give chase; eventually, a rat that could really be yummy food in the cat's mouth, got away.

The hunger is just NOT strong enough! The man on scooter-wheelchair did come up to front, but his hunger for healing or to be made strong in his limbs appeared NOT strong enough as compared to his "wanting' to ride a scooter-wheelchair around the sanctuary.


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

I want to say a little bit more concerning what I have said above, about the situation of the sick given up already of their hope of healing. Some have faced many disappointments from attempts, decided the way to move forward, is to have half-hearted attempt, so that even if it does NOT happen, getting healed, they no longer get disappointed. This is NOT the right attitude to receive divine healing.

I am NOT suggesting that people, drop everything that they can still function in, and NOT go on with their living, except to relentlessly pursue only one thing, that they be healed of the affliction that they are having. The Apostle Paul, for example, continued on with his work despite his “thorn in the flesh” affliction was NOT removed. Sure, it is open to interpretation as to what that “thorn in the flesh” affliction was, but it was nevertheless something impacting Paul much. But at the same time, I want to point out that Scripture does NOT suggest that we acquiesce with sickness. Paul prayed 3 times to God concerning his affliction, and we can take it that, thereafter, he did NOT pester God to remove the affliction anymore, but that was because he heard from God concerning his condition, and God’s word for him – “My grace is sufficient for you”. Also, although Paul might NOT have prayed for the removal of the affliction anymore, it did NOT mean that he did NOT pray concerning the grace that God promised him. The point is that we agree with God, but we do NOT agree with sickness. I have a few articles back at my blog-site, concerning such thing as “Is sickness any good?”, “Is sickness from God?” and “What should our attitude be, concerning sickness?” (Titles might NOT be as such).

While we face reality (we should NOT be self-deluded), and accept for the moment, certain hampering from our affliction or sickness, we are NOT to give up on getting rid of the affliction, unless, we have heard clearly God’s word for us, like Paul did. Continue to pray to God to have Him heal you. There is also nothing wrong with letting yourself be prayed for, by one minister, today, and another, tomorrow, and another, in another day, so to speak. If I pray for you, and you don’t get healed, sure, you can go and should go to another, for prayer. What is more important is your heart-condition in each of the time you ask for prayer.

Did God tell you that He has wanted you to suffer under this sickness? If NOT, you can always pray to Him or seek prayer from others concerning divine healing from God (and continue seeking medical attention, too). Our part is that we don’t give up; His part is that He decides if He would heal, and if He would, how and when. Of course, of paramount, is that, despite NOT giving up, you are still to live life NOT in anxiety, but in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit, loving Him with His righteousness and practising His righteousness. And in this regard, we, as believers, in our wanting to be healed, we are NOT to look to any other spiritual powers of healing other than that from our God. Stay steadfast until the end.

I better come back or I get further away! Why on earth did Jesus ask the long time invalid man, if he wanted healing? He was found in the place or about the place that was known where healing could come; he was next to the Bethesda Pool. Do we know that we are also all found in the place or about the place that was known where healing could come? No, you and I are NOT next to the Bethesda Pool in Israel. But we are in church, in the gathering of believers before the Lord. If you pay attention to the Bible, there, healing took place, again and again.


high-expressions said...

COnt. from above

Just think for a moment with me; are you with a sickness, and in, maybe, donkey months or years back, you have lifted that sickness or medical condition to God; i.e. you were hoping to receive healing from God, but somehow, you did NOT receive yet, your healing; are you still in church? Was the invalid man still next to the Pool? Had the invalid man, years back, wanted healing? He must have, just like you too, must have. After many months or years, you are still found in the church, in the gathering of the saints, just as the man was still found next to the Pool. If you are still with the condition, you have been disappointed, just as the man was still with the condition, and had been disappointed, when Jesus saw him there. Had the man given up hope or he had just about given up? How about you? Or does it really matter which is which, given up hope or just about given up? The point was that the man must be at the place God has come; and at the time God was open to grant, he must want to be healed, no matter what had happened in the past – disappointments, inability to get into the water, etc. To God, it is that simple, “You are here, I am open to grant, are you still wanting it?” Yes, Jesus did ask the question? Did Jesus NOT know how the answer would be like? Of course, Jesus knew. I believe Jesus could see the heart of the man. Even if He could NOT, for this instance, God could have revealed it to Him. Some of us, who move in the anointing of the Spirit, we can know certain things of the person we minister to, because the Spirit reveals to us; we should have no reason to expect Jesus did NOT operate with much greater anointing than us.

Why then did He still ask the question? I repeat the coming of healing from God, in a way, is that simple: God says I am here, and I am open to grant, are you still wanting it? If He (God) is operating alone, He looks at the heart, and He sees you are still wanting it, He grants it. But the point is that God is operating with us, and so, through this recorded instance, through working with Jesus, God, reveals how healing is to come. If Jesus did NOT ask the question, we would NOT know what was at work, and we would NOT know what to do, and what the people (ministees) should do or be with a certain mindset. Because we are NOT always operating with the kind of anointing that Jesus had, (could read the heart), when God is operating with us (He, NOT operating alone), we should also ask, and the heart is revealed by the person’s honest answer, for, Scripture said, from the heart, proceeds the man’s speech and action.

You think about it, why do preachers and pastors ask people to come to the front or to put up their hands if they want healing or help from God? Pastors and preachers, if you don’t do it, you should. In fact, it is good if the people can come to the front, if it is feasible. When you do that, you are doing what Jesus prescribed by His example – Ask him/them if him/they want to be healed.


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

Now, we wonder why some churches are completely quiet on this front, of God healing people, and NOT so, in some other churches. One reason can be simply this: The pastor in charge does not ask; please-lah, you cannot simply say, “If God wants to heal, He heals-lah; no healing means, He does NOT want to heal-lah.” There is just too much “lukewarm-ness” around. God is NOT happy with lukewarm-ness, we read it in Scripture. Corporate atmosphere is very important. Scripture recorded for us, that Jesus did NOT do much thing in His home-town, it was because the atmosphere there was lukewarm. Pastors are responsible for the corporate atmosphere of the church.

A significant dimension of faith-living is perseverance. How long have you persevered? Are you still wanting His healing? Even if you have slackened, even if you are just about to give up hope, now when God has come, and He asks, “Do you want to be healed?”, you must answer affirmatively, first in your heart, followed by your words and action. Better yet, always persevering, always wanting.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions