Disabled person silhouette winners hand holding gold medal top of wheelchair in 2020 New Year towards goals on city across between active. Shows freedom happy new year success and health concept.
When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get 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, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” John 5:6-8
Statistically, an average of eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them. I certainly have made many that I have failed to keep. I am not organized, exercised, fiscally wise, on time, volunteering, a healthy weight, scheduled, or filed, and that is just the short list of all that I am not. The older we are, the less we are inclined to make a New Year’s resolution, probably because we have history of failing to keep any.
Jesus’ encounter with the paralytic is revealing. He asks the man if he wishes he were well, and the man explains why he is not, which isn’t an answer to the question Jesus asked. We all want to be well, but we also all have a host of explanations as to why we are not. It is so much easier to make excuses than it is to change, especially if we think we are likely to fail in our effort to change. Yet, as He did at Bethesda, Jesus Christ comes to us, and when He draws near, change is coming.
With the New Year approaching, I have been looking back and counting the ways in which I am stuck and cannot, or will not, move. Spiritually, what are the excuses I make? In what ways is it just easier to be paralyzed than to change and grow? What within me is comfortable sitting by the Source of health and life without seeking healing itself?
When we cannot change ourselves, we adapt and accept flaws and weaknesses that our God would heal. Here, I am not speaking of physical failure, disease and the like, but rather, I am speaking of fears, of shame or guilt, of regret and self-condemnation. All of these and more paralyze us and keep us from living fully and freely. From loving, giving, serving, from even taking a chance… For what do you make excuses or give explanations that Jesus wants to heal? If we let Him, the Lord will break the chains that bind us and take our lives in new directions, giving us more and requiring more of us, filling our days with purpose and imbuing our lives with meaning. Who doesn’t want that? Apparently, most of us do not. It simply feels safer to watch than to act, to dream of a different life without making any changes. Also, I think we are afraid we won’t like where God leads. Thus, we are comfortable with the paralysis of our souls even though we are invited to dance across the Kingdom with our Father.
Living in paralysis is a heavy burden to carry. So much life is just out of reach. I challenge you to join me in making a resolution for the coming year: Resolve to pursue Jesus Christ and Him alone, giving Him your soul to set free and your future to unfold.
Give Him one year, and see what He does. You have everything to gain and only excuses and explanations to lose.
In Christ –
Rev. Elizabeth Moreau – © 2019