Seeing God’s Goodness in the Land of the Living.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
A man suffering with some kind of infirmity, probably paralyzed or lame, lay beside the pool of Bethesda. Did he echo David the Psalmist as he laid there watching the water stir up in the pool before him? The man was waiting, hoping someone would pick him up and place him in this healing water. But there were so many others, sick and maimed also, that pushed their way past the man and into the pool.
Imagine if you had been ill or unable to walk for a long time, and someone came up to you after your 1,989th day of trying to do the one thing you thought was the exact prescription to make you better, and they asked you, “Do you want to be made well?” This is what Jesus asked him. The man answered, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” (John 5:6-7, paraphrase mine)
This man laying on the ground had no idea he was looking at Jesus Christ. All of God’s goodness right there in the land of the living. Yet, this man did not know who this was speaking to him. The man didn’t see the gift.
Jesus said, “rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. John 5:9
The man doesn’t know this is Jesus. He doesn’t recognize him. Some Jews question him about why he is carrying his bed on the Sabbath, because this was unlawful. Instead of a thank you to the man who had just healed him he blames Jesus. He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, “Take up your bed and walk’.” John 5:11
Again, this man missed the gift, the grace, the real goodness of God right in front of him. He seems angry and bitter. His faith was in a pool of water and his hope was in getting off his bed and walking. Neither of which were worth anything compared to looking at the face of God in human form.
I know this bitterness of thinking , ” all I need is this, then I’ll be healthy or happy.” There Jesus is asking, “do you want to be made well?” I answer, “well of course, I’ve done one million things, I’ve been faithful for decades. I’ve been waiting forever!”
Jesus never placed that man into the pool of water that he thought would heal him. I was placed where I thought life would be perfect only to be disappointed, because although it was good in worldly standards, it wasn’t the goodness God had been planning for me as He was knitting me together all wonderfully and fearfully like the Psalmist says.
We are told to seek His face continually. I know I missed Him at least once in my life, probably a lot more. But here I am still hopeful that Gods grace covers, that love covers a multitude of sins; and yes, I believe I will see the goodness of God here in the land of the living.