Do you need encouragement? Read John 5:1-18. It’s about a man who seemed to be “at the end of his rope.” He had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. For “a very long time,” he had been lying by a pool near Sheep Gate in Jerusalem. The pool was surrounded by “a great number of disabled people,” waiting for the water to be stirred. Scripture teaches that healing would come only to the first person who entered the pool after the water was stirred. When Jesus saw the man, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
For most of us, that question comes across as rather strange. “Well, duh! Why else would I be lying here?” would have been a rather disrespectful answer, don’t you think? A simple, “Yes,” would have sufficed. But the man replied, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Some people might read that as whining. They might interpret the man as one who lacked creativity or tenacity or sufficient faith or courage. I have even heard pastors and Biblical teachers speculate that he might have made his paralysis a way of life, and was content to just be there, maybe begging for a living or thriving on the sympathy of others. But, I think this man was at the end of his rope, and Jesus saw his tenacity, appreciated his struggle, and His heart went out to the man. He did not chastise him for complaining that he had no help. He simply said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
The story tells me, when I am at the end of my rope, it’s OK to complain to Jesus. It’s OK to cry to Him when there is no one to help you.
Imagine your rope is stiff jute, hanging only halfway down from the ceiling. You’ve tied a secure knot and you’re hanging on, but you’re tired of the struggle. Your grip are getting weak. By faith, you DO want to be made well. You rely on Jesus. He changes the rope to a bungee cord and it stretches to the floor where you can get your feet on the ground again. Pick up your mat (or your rope) and walk.
That was today’s message for me. Hang on until by God’s grace, you CAN walk again – or you can compensate – you can rely on other attributes that multiply in you – and make life do-able again. Then – healed by faith, count your blessings, and go out to tell your story! Radiate God’s Hope so that others can keep on keepin’ on when they come to the end of their ropes.
Here are today’s sermon notes (message from Rev. Jean Johnson, adapted – interpreted – and rendered in poetic form through my filters):
How to Get Well
Are you at the end of your rope?
Do you really want to be healed?
What are you doing to create a knot
And hang on where the knot is sealed?
What Super Glue sealed the knot tight?
Your fingers grasp at the end of straws
Looking for what solutions dangle there –
Within reach of your grasping claws.
Are you responsible for catching the clues?
Is healing a matter of finding and grasping?
If we whine and passively hang without doing,
Is this the key to healing that’s lasting?
No, firmly clasping that knot you’ve made
Requires faith and strength and tenacity.
Ultimately, healing comes from God’s grace.
Our gratitude gives that rope elasticity!
That’s the Good News! Bounce on down!
Untie the knot and let go of the rope.
By God’s grace – His goodness alone –
Walk, healed by Faith, to radiate God’s Hope!
Do you need encouragement? Read John 5:1-18. Hang in there!