God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 5

JESUS BRINGS ANSWERS IN UNEXPECTED WAYS

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”  The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.  (John 5:5-9)

This was not what the paralyzed man had prayed for.

For thirty-eight years, he had hoped, had tried, had failed to find an answer to his plight.  He had seen other people have their prayers answered and their efforts rewarded, but not him.  He had seen other people receive their miracle and walk away healed, but not him.

For thirty-eight years.

Then Jesus came along.  Jesus, with His love and compassion and His reputation for helping those who were down and out.  “Surely,” the man must have thought when Jesus approached him, “surely this man will help me into the pool so I may be healed.”

But Jesus didn’t help him into the pool at all.

In fact, when Jesus asked the man a question about the result he longed for, the man didn’t really answer.  Instead, he described the ritual he had tried and how it had failed again and again.  It’s as if over the long years of waiting, the man had gotten so focused on his disappointment over the failed process that he had completely forgotten the point.

Have you been there?  Have you felt the long wait for an answer turn into a longing that feels like it will be forever unfulfilled?  Have you prayed and asked for something, but felt like all you got was silence?

Jesus wants more for you than your expectations!

Don’t miss this important detail folded in to the story.  The man wanted someone to help him into the pool, because that’s the only paradigm he knew.  However, Jesus didn’t do that at all.  In fact, He told the man to go in the totally opposite direction from what he was expecting, not down into the pool, but up into the promise of a new life.  Jesus didn’t give the man what he wanted or what he asked for; He gave him what he had forgotten he really needed all along.

Maybe He wants to do the same for you.

As you pray and seek God for answers in your life, you may find the waiting long.  You may find the answers strange.  But, whatever your journey looks like, may you have the wisdom and courage to trust God for the best result in response to your prayer, not just the one you’re expecting.  When you cultivate this mindset of faith, you’ll discover the hope that comes from this important truth: Jesus brings answers in unexpected ways.

-Pastor Phillip


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