TLIB received supplies from The Ink Road in exchange for a feature in this post.
Here's the story: There's this really, really sick guy -- he's been sick for thirty-eight years -- and he's waiting with a group of other really sick people near a miracle pool. Whoever steps into the pool gets healed, so you can imagine there are a lot of sick people waiting for their turn (and maybe they're getting pushy, too). This guy though, he's just laying there; he is so sick that he can't get up to take his turn. Maybe no one notices him, or maybe no one bothers to help because they all just want their own chance at the pool. Whatever the situation is though, the guy just lays there, helpless. Actually, literally, helpless.
Now imagine you're him. (Sad for you.)
Jesus comes along now and he sees you laying there, just waiting, waiting for someone to pick you up and carry you into the pool. After all, you've been sick and afflicted for thirty-eight long years. If anyone deserves help, it is you, am I right? You think to yourself, Doesn't anyone understand what I'm going through? No, no one understands me or even cares; I'm just going to lay here, miserable and helpless forever. And maybe you notice that Jesus is looking at you, or maybe you don't. Regardless, you don't acknowledge him, nor do you call out to God or to anyone around you for help.
So Jesus makes his way over to you and he says, "Do you wish to get well?" And maybe he puts emphasis on the word wish: "Do you wish to get well?" As in, do you even want to get down to that pool?
Of course you do!! Right?
But you don't even answer with a yes or no. You just spout out the reasons why you haven't gotten well yet. No one is picking you up and carrying you down there! And every time you think you've edged close enough to the pool, someone steps in before you, and then when they step out, someone else steps in again before you, and it's just this terrible, endless cycle of misfortune for you.
And Jesus says, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk."
Go on, get up, now... help yourself...
Now, I need to apologize to the actual sick man here in John 5, because I don't know his life.
As for me, I've been in situations before -- between bouts of depression, dealing with anxiety, the pressures of "momming" and "wifing", running out of coffee, being on our last roll of TP, and life in general -- where I'm all, "Oh, woe is me, why can't I catch a break, already?" And Jesus looks at me, waiting for me to acknowledge him, and I just keep complaining about my really, terribly hard life, basically pretending he isn't there, and trying hard to avoid eye contact. In these situations, God usually punches me in the face through His Word, or through a sermon or song or something, and I get my act together and figure out that I can actually get help if I know where to look.
Now, listen. I absolutely do believe that we should lift each other up, help each other out, support each other, and serve each other. Absolutely, I do. No one should go it alone, as my stubborn self has tried so often to do, and as it seems this sick guy was attempting to do. But guess what? People don't know your life. If you need help, you need to seek it out. No one's expecting you to suffer in silence -- and if they are, they may not care for your well-being as much as you need them to. Speak up. Seek help. Call out to God (He'll hook you up).
I'll close with another gem from my study bible:
HOW ABOUT IT: Is there something in your life that you've been holding on to, which is giving you a "woe-is-me" attitude? What do you need to give up to God? ⤵︎
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