Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:8–9 (NIV)
For thirty-eight years the man was paralyzed in a sickly cycle of passive dependency, coping to make it to the end of each day, longing for something else.
It’s the kind of circular-survival-thinking that traps us in a death-like state where we’re ruled by our fears and our stress, far removed from the abundant life Jesus promised.
Then Jesus said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
He gave the man an option: “You can get up and walk, step into faith and leave behind your fear. God is strong, and he wants you strong” (Ephesians 6:10 MSG).
Like our own steps of faith, the first step was surely the hardest for the man. He had thirty-eight years of experience telling him his legs would not support a walk; he had no experience in trusting this man named Jesus.
It took courage, energy and pain to take the first step, but then, he had one step of experience telling him Jesus might be right; two steps telling him Jesus could be right; three steps telling him Jesus must be right; four steps telling him Jesus is absolutely right.
Jesus didn’t enslave the man; he liberated him, empowering him with choice and independence from his fears.
Paralyzed in confusion and fear, the questions remain:
- Do I want to be healed?
- Will I do whatever God says to be healed?
- Will I pick up my mat and walk, making godly choices?
- Will I step into faith and away from my fear?
Father, I want to be healed. Help me in my unbelief. Be my strength and my boldness. Amen.
Jon Walker’s new book, Breakfast with Bonhoeffer, is a story of God’s faithfulness during struggles with bipolar disorder, divorce, and economic uncertainty.
This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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