My brother, Marcell, came to visit last night and he mentioned that one of our associates admitted that in life she only wanted to do “enough to get by.” This saddened me but didn’t surprise me. I told Marcell, “That’s exactly why I’ve fallen back from being her cheerleader in life because I think she says what she thinks people want to hear, but at the end of the day, she’s a J. Cole song…she don’t wanna be saved.”
I fell asleep with “No Role Modelz” playing in my head and when I woke up that song and John 5:6 were side by side in my thoughts. This is a familiar passage of scripture to most. There’s a man who’s been an invalid for 38 years lying by the healing pool hoping to get well. Jesus arrives on the scene and asks, “Do you want to get well?” I’ve often asked, “Why on earth did Jesus ask such a ridiculous question?” But the man’s response is the reason Jesus had to ask him the question. The man says, “‘Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’” Speaking as someone who has spent the better part of her adult life wanting things for people that they didn’t want for themselves I imagined Jesus thinking, “I didn’t ask you all that. I asked you if you had the DESIRE to be well. I am not here to address you about the past; I’m here to launch you into the future.”
Maybe I should make that my leading question from here on out when people lay around the outskirts of life, hoping…but never moving. “Do you want to be well?”
I don’t want to be well because I don’t really want to change. I want to do just enough to give the appearance that I want to change because I know that all the people around me are changing, but I don’t actually want to change. I’m afraid of change. There are many of us who are intensely faithful to our view of the world even when we complain about how the view never changes. Some of us would far rather linger in the same chapter we’ve been in since high school than risk turning the page and stepping into an unknown story. We’d rather risk dying in the box than living outside of it because we are afraid to leave our comfort zone, and as far as I’m concerned “comfort zone” is just a synonym for mediocrity. So …“Do you want to change? Do you want to be well?”
I do want to be well, but my past is holding me back. “Jesus, you know I’ve been trying to get in that pool for years, but my friends, my family, my associates, my past has been holding me back.” The interesting thing about the past is it’s specifically designed for you to put it behind you. In the words of Nikka Costa, “Everybody’s got their something.” We all have things that have happened in our past that have been horrifying, but we have to focus on finding ways to move forward. Perhaps you didn’t have the parents you wanted; the educational opportunities you needed; the forever friends in your corner. That’s tragic. But what about NOW? I know far too many people who have let the first 20 years of their lives ruin the rest of their lives. Move forward because even if you take small steps you can get somewhere. Besides, Jesus isn’t asking you what went wrong in your past; he is asking, “Do you want to be well?”
I do want to be well, but my environment is holding me back. “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool because everyone around me is either doing nothing or looking out for themselves.” The man at the pool could not physically remove himself from that environment, but you can. If you’re trying to get your degree, stop spending all your time with people who do not care about you studying. If you’re trying to lose weight, stop hanging out with people who eat junk and don’t work out. If you want to stay sober, stop playing dominoes at the trap house. If you want to be positive, stop hanging out with negative people, doing negative things, and filling your mind with negative entertainment. If you want to go to that next level, stop hanging out with stagnant people and find someone who can help you rise. Jesus isn’t asking you what the people around you are doing; he’s asking “Do YOU want to be well?”
Ask yourself this question, and over the course of the next seven days take time to evaluate the way you answer it through the actions you take. You may find that you do not want to be well because life doesn’t require much from a sick person. You may think you can get off easy by living sick. But don’t forget, that God gave us many purposes and only one life. I hardly think He’ll let us slide with a sick note when He’s given us every opportunity to made be well.