When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
Of course. Of course I want to be well–don’t I? Don’t we all? Don’t we want to be on the up and up, on a path of healing with the Lord, leaving our old lives behind and fully embracing the will of God?
Well, on our good days we do. But when we feel discouraged, angry, disillusioned, our old way of life can become attractive to us. Or we cling to our favorite sins, and think, like St. Augustine, “Lord, make me chaste [or sober, or peaceful, or obedient], but not yet!” Or we may think, “This Christian life is such hard work. Why am I doing this?”
I believe this is why Jesus points out that healing must be part of our will, just like any aspect of the spiritual life. Yes, God can do whatever He wants, but most of the time we must ask Him for help, ask Him to heal us. And this is where the simple question, do you want to be well, can become overwhelming.
What are some typical excuses I find myself making about this question?
1) I want to be well, but God doesn’t care enough about me to fix it–False.
2) I want to be well, but I am not worth the time or energy of anyone, not even God–False.
3) I want to be well, but I’m beyond God’s mercy now–False.
4) I want to be well, but the effort it will cost me will not be worth it–False.
I invite you to think about your own reasons–the things we keep for ourselves that prevent us from fully being well. Then ask God to help you get over them. We might not feel ready yet, but we can’t wait until we feel ready. If Lent is when we take a deeper look at who we are, then we need to ask God to give us the vision to see, as Erin called them yesterday, our “blind spots.”