A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that 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." -- John 5:5-7 (NASB)Its been a few weeks since this reading at St Ignatios, but Jesus' question has been stirring around in my mind for these weeks and I decided to finally put it into the blog.
He asked the man, "Do you want to be healed?". The first running through my mind was that Jesus never forces grace upon anyone. I wrote some thoughts about that once before.
But there was another though that followed soon after: "How many times have people said no?" I know that I have struggled to yes from time to time. I make no secret that I used to drink alcohol to excess (see here, here or here )and certainly I said no many times during those years when I drank. I didn't believe that I had a problem for quite a while. I would tell myself that it wasn't sinful (I knew it really was). I was tell myself and others that it wasn't so bad.
But worst of all I was like the man in the story, I didn't believe I could stop or that there was hope for me. I didn't ask for help from the Lord. I had tried once before to stay sober and failed after 6 months so I gave up on the thought of sobriety and tried to moderation (I failed at that too). Finally, after my year in the seminary it was especially impressed upon me that I had a problem. I tried again to stay sober, but this time I started off by praying in front of the tabernacle at a local parish. A sudden sense of certainty swept over me. I can't explain it properly in words, but I knew from that point that I was free. I have been sober now for 8 years and still going strong.
Enough about myself, the point I am trying to make is that I encourage you to look inward and ask yourself if Jesus has asked you "Do you wish to get well?". Did you say no or did you accept His love and His grace.
May God bless all who read my ramblings,
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