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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Do You Want to Be Well?

“Do you want to be well?” The question pierced me. I pondered the past several years of my life, filled with exhaustion, pain, dizziness, and confusion; all the result of an accidental arsenic poisoning. Our family had inhaled the fumes of a series of fires containing pressure treated wood and other toxic garbage. I had become so ill that I couldn’t even remember my address when I was filling out paperwork at my doctor’s office. For months, I had swallowed 72 pills a day with gallons of water to detoxify my body.

I had diligently researched the long term effects of arsenic poisoning, and one article had wedged itself into my mind; playing over and over in the shadows of my thoughts, influencing my every decision. An entire small community had somehow also suffered arsenic poisoning. Eighty percent had developed multiple Cancer within eight to 10 years. A vast majority were terminal. Eight to 10 years? It seemed like such a long time when I first read the article, but it was now year number nine for me. Not just for me, but for my children, too.

I had already begun to develop multiple sores and cysts of various shapes and sizes throughout my body; some leading to biopsies, while others painfully ruptured. All had been benign ... so far. The closer I came to the eight to 10-year mark, the more I became predisposed to drop my sword and surrender each time a new cyst or sore developed, or some part of my body malfunctioned. I felt like I was bracing for an inevitable crash. In my mind, doom was certain. It was not a matter of “if,” but a matter of “when.” I felt like I was living on borrowed time.

Then, one Tuesday morning, we were studying the gospel of John:

“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’

The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’

Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” (John 5:2-8 NKJV)

I was struck by the man’s answer to Jesus’ question because I realized that I had been answering his question the same way for nine years. I had spent so much time dwelling on why I was sick, that I had simply been laying on my mat, waiting for impending doom.

I had a revelation that morning. Jesus wanted me to walk in the waiting; to pick up my mat and keep moving forward. He had already determined the number of my days. Each day was a gift, and I was wasting them sitting on my mat, by the pool of Bethesda.

It was time to pick up my mat and walk in faith with hope for the future. Now, I see lumps as nothing more than speed bumps. I will not live my life waiting to die. I will live my life “well.”

“Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:14-16 NKJV)

Do you want to be well?

Copyright © Kathy Thomas. Used by permission.

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