“And a certain man was there, who had been there for 38 years in his sickness. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already been there a long time in that condition, He said to him, ‘Do you wish to get well?” John 5:5-6
The lame man in this story had been waiting for 38 years for someone to come along and carry him into the pool so that he could be healed, but in an instant, Jesus declared him well: ”Arise, take up your pallet, and walk. And immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet and began to walk” (John 5:8-9).
We all love to read this story of healing. Jesus spoke and it was so! We see it over and over again throughout the gospels. But too often we forget what came before the story — the 38 years of waiting, hoping, and wishing for healing.
God hasn’t changed, and He is still the God of miracles who asks us today, “Do you wish to get well?” He wants us to pray, believing that He can still heal today. “…and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
But what happens to our faith when God says, “not yet?” As a person who has lived her entire adult life in chronic pain, I have had to struggle with that. Is it because I don’t have enough faith? Or do I have unconfessed sin in my life that somehow blocks God’s healing power?
The answer is a resounding “no!” It is God who determines the answers to our prayers, and to some He says, “Arise and walk” and to others He says, “The joy of the Lord will be your strength.” We don’t always like the answers to the questions that we ask of God, but He reminds us that He is still God, He is still sovereign, and His grace is still sufficient.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that even though I am in pain today, that doesn’t diminish who You are. You are still the God of miracles and healing even if Your answer to me is “not yet.” Thank You that in the midst of the pain I can still rejoice in You, for Your grace is sufficient daily. Amen.
Have you been struggling with a prayer request that hasn’t been answered the way you wanted it to be? Trust God to know what the perfect timing is. In the meantime, daily practice Philippians 4:4-7.
Further Reading: Practicing Patience When God Has You Waiting