Within every challenge is an opportunity
“When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.’” (John 5:6-7)
There are three categories of people in this world; thinkers, talkers and doers. Thinkers understand the problem, talkers broadcast the problem but only doers apply solutions that eliminate the problem. The man in today’s Gospel passage was obviously a talker. Talkers don’t listen; they just want to be heard; they are professional complainers!
Jesus asked this man a simple question: “Do you want to be healed?” (A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.) He burst into complaints. Are you like this man? How often do you narrate your problems to the world? Maybe it is time you stopped complaining and start looking at Jesus standing in front of you.
Recently, I have learned in a bitter way that telling others our story in other to attract their sympathy doesn’t work. To be honest, no one cares to know what you are going through until after you have become successful. Resist the urge to complain. God may have answered your prayers already while you are still busy gathering sympathizers.
What kept this man there for so long? Faith. He believed in the curative power of the pool of Bethzatha. However, he believed that the ONLY way he would get cured was through that pool of Bethzatha. Have you concluded that there is only one type of solution to your problem?
Jesus saw a lot of people there but his attention was drawn to this man because he had been there for a very long time. The truth is that even our problems are “blessings” in disguise. I believe God will never allow us to face a difficult challenge unless He intends to bring something good out of it. In the story of the man born blind, Jesus’ disciples asked him: who sinned? This man or his parents? Jesus said: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (John 9:3) Your present sufferings are simply testimonies waiting to happen. In every challenge, there is an opportunity.
After Jesus had cured the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethzatha, Jesus said something quite striking to him: “See, you have been made well! Do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” (John 5:14). In this way, Jesus hints that there is a connection between sin and calamity. Perhaps, this was why Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic brought to him through the roof in Mark 2:5. More still, while warning against leading others to sin, Jesus said: “it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6). Again, while commenting on the issue of the Galileans whose blood Pilate mixed with the sacrifices, Jesus said: “Unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.” (Luke 13:3)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, free me from the compulsion to complain, deepen my faith in you, help me see the opportunities hidden within my challenges and increase my hatred for sin. Amen
(Tuesday of the 4th week of Lent. Bible Study: Ezekiel 47:1-12, Psalm 46 and John 5:1-16).