Do you want to get well?

“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 5:6

Do you want to get well, Elaine? So whispered the Holy Spirit to my heart this past week.

Of course, Lord, I want to be well. I am well . . . right? Even before I uttered my response, I knew the answer. Otherwise God wouldn’t have asked the question. God doesn’t waste words with his children. God speaks them as they are needed.

Being “well.” What does that look like for you? Feel like? Live like? The culture we live in dictates a wide variety of responses to this question. Soundness of mind, financial security, health of body, a stable family, and a charitable life, are just a few of the barometers used by society to measure personal wellness. But what do you use? How do you know if you are well?

I’m asking myself the same question, and I’m doing so in the context of Christ’s sacred conversation with the invalid at the pool of Bethesda some 2000 years ago (see John 5:1-15). I’m backing into story and into an understanding of wellness by examining its contrast—what wellness isn’t.

Wellness isn’t:

• Lying on a mat for thirty-eight years waiting for the waters to be stirred.

• Lying on a mat for thirty-eight years waiting for the waters to be stirred.

• Lying on a mat for thirty-eight years waiting for the waters to be stirred.

Yes, you read that correctly; three times over. I tried to come up with more bullet points to further define the contrast. Given more time and more deliberation, I’m sure I could come up with a fuller definition, at least as it pertains to understanding what wellness is not. But I have an inclination that there is one or two or ten of you out there, like me, that could hear these words and have them be enough to shake you up, wake you up, and grow you up. There is nothing about lying on a mat for thirty-eight years that is going to bring you and me any closer to gaining the healing we long for, the restoration and wholeness our Father longs to bring to us.

What loves us closer to wellness is our willingness to stop making excuses and to start walking with Jesus. Just start walking with Jesus. Healing and wholeness take time. I am not devaluing or disrespecting the timetable attached to the process of getting well. I’m forty-six, and I still have work to do. But unlike the invalid of Jesus’ day, I know who Jesus is, what Jesus can do, and how I can be well. I don’t have the benefit of ignorance to coddle my excuses. I have truth on my side—an entire Bible’s worth of hope at my fingertips, holy words from the holy God that can be wholly trusted with the wellness road.

Do you want to get well? Have your “thirty-eight years” been too many years? Today is the right day to begin your healing walk with Jesus. Roll up your excuses, pick up your mat, and pick up the Word.

The waters have been stirred. There is no time to waste. Movement wins. With Jesus, movement always wins.

Peace for the journey,

Do you want to be well? What is one tangible way you can move forward with your wellness today?

20 Responses to Do you want to get well?

  1. I like THIS best: “With Jesus, movement always wins.” Would you believe I started moving (again) this morning? Woke up determined to move. Even blogged my goals last night on my power, love and self control blog… Then THIS! Affirmation. Confirmation.

    • Releasing one pound? I struggle even with that, Rebecca. Loved reading your goals. I’m inspired to take this one on. Just one stinkin’ pound! I can do this.

  2. So much truth in your three bullets/one phrase list. We definitely cannot get well, in any sense of the word, by doing nothing. Picking up the Word is a great place to start!

    • You’re a good one to lead us, Cheryl. Congratulations on the recent movement in your life–the positive responses from editors about your work. You’re one of the most tenacious, steady-as-she-goes well-seekers I know. Keep to it.

  3. As I read your post, I thought of the latest book I downloaded for free on my Kindle. It is called “A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty” by Joni Eareckson Tada. As you probably know, she has lived in a quadriplegic body for more than 40 years. Does she want to get well? Of course she does. But God has given her such an amazing ministry to the disabled and even the not so disabled physically in the midst of her suffering.

    So many of us suffer in this world. But learning to trust God in the midst of the suffering is a gift I believe. Yes, He can heal. But He can also choose to use our suffering for His glory. How we choose to respond is up to us.

    I love your advice. Being willing to walk with Jesus. Spending time in His Word can be just the healing we need.

    Blessings and love,

    • Being well isn’t always about being without struggle. In fact, our wellness often comes in the midst of great struggle. Being willing to be well, regardless of the physical, emotional traumas we’re experiencing, is, in itself, healing. I’m learning to be well, despite pain and suffering. God has not removed my obstacles; instead, he’s become my sufficiency. Thanks for being here today, Debbie.

  4. So true! Those first few steps are always very very hard. And because they are hard you often need to go slow and take breaks. Then, the mental portion of the fight wages… “you can’t go on, you can’t do this, go back to your mat” but fighting through is the only way to go in order to heal. But,oh, the agony! I’m in those first few steps this morning and feel the ache and the agony! I’d prefer to go right back to bed. But… I’m choosing to fill myself with some good words! Thanks Elaine!

    • Love you, Shane, and validate the struggle you feel. As I mentioned to Jess, just do that one thing–just one to get you moving. Even a small investment at forward progression is a win! Praying you feel the love and strength of God this day to make that move.

  5. Powerful, challenging words I needed to hear!

    I hate sitting on my mat…but not enough to destroy it!
    What a shame, that after small (yet significant) victories, I return.
    Like a dog returning to it’s vomit.

    Wellness isn’t looking back!
    It isn’t blaming others for my pain.
    It isn’t mindlessly choosing the same old habits to anesthetize my hurt!
    It is moving onward with JESUS by trusting Him to care for and change me.
    Shalom Elaine.

    • Just do that one thing today, Jess, one thing that moves you forward. It doesn’t have to seem big to the rest of us; whatever you do is big enough. Just do it. I love your honesty and willingness to move. I’m challenging myself as well.

  6. Many times as I read this story, I thought, did he know he was not well? Did he know that he had options? There have been times in my life that I sat by the “answer” and did not reach for it because I did not realize I needed it. Or times that I sat by the “water” and did not feel worthy to take a drink. Being well starts with the knowledge of lack and the faith that wholeness is for youself. Thank you all for the insight from each perspective and I pray that all that are ill will know that the “waters have been stirred… for them… this day” Blessings.

    • Not long ago, someone commented in Sunday School about how he wished others would come and join us–like the people he saw on the street on his way to church. My thought in response was that the people he saw on the street probably didn’t have a clue as to why they needed church. . . that Christ hasn’t become real to them yet. They didn’t know they needed Him. We’re dealing with a brand new breed of 20 somethings that don’t have a context for Jesus. Until their need becomes painfully obvious to them–that they can be well–a whole lot of mat-sitting becomes commonplace! I couldn’t agree more, Jane. Good to see you here today. I’ve been missing you.

  7. wifeforthejourney:

    For some time now, when I’ve considered this passage of scripture, I have (irreverently) wondered if the lame man thought Jesus’ question was a dumb one. “Well, of course, Jesus, I want to be well!” Don’t we all?
    But, as you point out so well, this is a question Jesus asks to engage our faith, rather than insult our intelligence. Our own “willingness” is a big part of us moving forward with God. The paralyzed man’s problems seem to be so very obvious, but Jesus looks not just for the wounded, but for the willing. As for me, Lord search my heart, test me and ask me and help me be willing to respond to your calling in all that I do.

    This is a good word for us and for our church. Love you honey!


  8. Like you, I know Jesus. I’ve surrendered to him, or so I thought until this post. Now I realize I’m sabotaging myself in little ways: Not always eating what I should and not getting as much exercise or sleep as I should to prevent recurrence’ not spending enough time with Him in the Word. As you said, “There is no time to waste.” I must let go of my self destructive ways and bathe in His waters. Thank you!


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  10. ELaine….I too marveled at Jesus question and asked it of myself when I re-read that passage about the healing at the pool. This is one of my favorite scenes with Jesus. I can imagine that man lying on that stretcher for years and years, and then the surprise when Jesus actually asks him the question and you are so right, God never wastes words with His children. I think it would be good if we all asked ourselves the question, whether we are in the midst of needing healing or not….DO we want to be healed? Do we want to walk with Jesus?

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