“If I had more space I could get better organized,” I thought for the hundredth time as I looked at my cluttered living room. Our family of two adults, three kids, and a cat had outgrown our 800 square foot condo and every available nook and cranny was filled with toys, clothes, books, and papers. “If I was better organized, I would be a better wife and mother AND I’d have more time to serve you, Lord!” God was more likely to answer my prayers for a bigger home if He knew my motivation was unselfish.
I went upstairs and checked on the baby. He was still asleep, and with the girls at school, I knew I had at least an hour of quiet time. I read from John 5 where Jesus heals the paralyzed man by the Sheep Gate pool in Jerusalem, but I was frustrated and I couldn’t concentrate. “God, I know you want to teach me something, but I’ve read this story for years and I’m just not getting anything out of the Bible right now.” I closed my eyes and lay my head down on the cluttered desk next to the bed in our overstuffed bedroom.
Praying for the Holy Spirit to help my understanding of the scripture passage, I imagined myself as an overwhelmed paralytic. I felt the heat of the sun as I lay down on my thin mat. I looked around the pool at all the other disabled people there. I needed someone to help me be the first one into the pool so I could be healed but no one would help me. I was paralyzed for 38 years, so I knew the system and it was not working for me. I thought about the little things that would make me more comfortable, like scooting my mat toward some shade as the sun moved across the colonnade. Then I had an excellent idea. I thought a more comfortable and larger mat was the answer. I was lost in these thoughts when I heard the words, “Do you want to get well?” I was caught up in my imagination, and I blurted out to Jesus, “I want a better mat!” Suddenly, I was back in my bedroom. Jesus asked me if I want to get well and all I wanted was a better mat?!
The lame man in the Bible also did not answer the question. He told Jesus he had no one to help him into the healing pool when the angel stirred the waters. Jesus had plans for that man. He wanted to heal him and change the direction of his life. I, too, needed healing, not for any physical infirmity, but for spiritual and emotional wholeness. It was as if Jesus asked me the same question, “Mrs. K, do you want to get well?” Rather than say “YES!” I’d say, “Give me a bigger house, Jesus! That is the answer to all my problems and frustrations.”
What the Holy Spirit showed me that day was that Jesus wanted to give me so much more than comfort and empathy. Being short-sighted in faith was like asking for a new mat when Jesus wanted healing and wholeness for me. After healing him, Jesus gave the man an action plan, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” I had an action plan, too. I got up and did the work I had for that day.
That time with the Holy Spirit was a precious milestone in my walk of faith. I have learned to trust God beyond my circumstances because His desire is for me to be whole. My Father in Heaven wants to give me bigger and better things than anything I could ask for myself. But first I have to answer the question Jesus asks all of us, “Do you want to get well?”