As I look back in my past I see a pattern of who I was at such a young age. A girl determined, strong willed, assertive, confident and motivated . . . an overachiever. Then why, why do I still struggle with so many things in my life?
I have read many times the story of the man who laid by the Sheep Gate pool. Year after year, 38 to be exact, praying and hoping he would be next in the pool. He could almost feel the water. Water that would take away his pain. Water that would warm his body. Water that would cleanse him and restore him. He would get so close and yet, never reach the goal. I used to think, You dummy, get your parents to help you into the pool. What about your friends, where are they? While you are laying there haven't you met anybody else who might help you? Why not get close enough so it is only a foot away when it’s time?
Sure, I have all the answers. Well, if I have all the answers then why in my own life have I not gotten it? Why are there areas of my life that may appear so clear to the solution but for some reason I never quite make it to the pool? I can see the pool, smell it and almost taste it but each time I move toward it, I fail. Me, Ms. Motivated, strong willed, confident, super-duper overachiever. Should I know how to fix everything? At least I am good at telling everyone else how.
Like the man at the healing pool, I began to see some similarities in his life and mine. Lord, do I really want to be healed? Lord, is some of my pain and are my problems self-induced? I mean, if I have the skills and knowledge then why don't I change? Why don't I reach the pool? Jesus asked this man if he wanted to be healed. I was like, Jesus, that is a dumb question. Of course he wants to be healed. Look at what he is living in. Look at what is around him. Why would he want to stay there? Yeah, but why would I want to stay where I am? Why would you?
I believe some of our pain keeps us close to Jesus while other pain separates us. I know a lot of my pain separates me from my Savior. Pain that I haven't fully dealt with. Pain that I am hiding from others. Pain that if revealed will embarrass me. Pain that if revealed may actually heal me. Then what? I mean, just like the man by the pool, this life was all he knew. I mean, if he could actually walk, work and take care of himself, what would this mean?
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 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?" "Sir," the invalid replied, "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. Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat." But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' " So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?" The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.