“Do you want to be made well?” John 5:6 b (NRSV)
Jesus put this question to a man who had suffered from paralysis for a long time. The answer might seem like a “no brainer” to us. “Yes! Absolutely! Heal me now!” is the response we would expect.
Yet, it was not as easy for him to answer, as we might think. The man responded: “No one helped me into the pool.” He offered an excuse. He did not take any responsibility for his healing, despite being sick for 38 years.
He was so accustomed to and accepting of his condition and dependent upon the actions of others to make him well that he became his sickness, which he treated as a badge of honor. Why chance healing? Healing would have changed everything and created new expectations for him.
No one makes it through life without experiencing places of sickness and sickening conditions. It is easy to give up and to accept that who we are is defined by ours or others’ bad habits, flaws, mistakes, imperfection, anger, hurt, disappointment, dark motives, victimization and victimizing attitudes, and a host of other unfortunate circumstances.
“Do we want to be healed?” is a real question for each of us today. It demands an answer, as we make our way through Lent, reflecting upon our struggles, need for continued spiritual growth, and how we live out our Christian faith and hope.
Like the man, we can focus on our sickness, make excuses for it, blame others for not making us get well, and stay imprisoned. Or we can choose to want healing, restoration, and renewal. This is what Jesus wants for each of us, all of us. Still, it is a matter of personal choice.