"Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”
But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
“Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.
The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him."
I never thought much about this story when I was younger. Recently, when I reread this story it struck me in a new way.
The crippled man told Jesus that he couldn't be healed because he had no one to help him into the water before someone else got in first. He thought he could only be healed one way, that there was only one solution to his problem, when he was talking to the one who had more power to heal him than anything or anyone else.
He had narrowed his focus and his hope so much that even when the best solution to his problem was standing in front of him, all he saw was the other solution and how impossible it was for him to achieve.
And that probably happens a lot with me. I see a problem that looks impossible to fix and I think I know what the solution is, but that is impossible too. When God is right there with so much more power than I can imagine. I overlook him, like the crippled man, I don't see Jesus standing there, right in front of me, offering me his love and guidance.