From Paul’s Pen

             Perhaps one of God’s greatest blessings we are prone to take for granted is our health. We know we should exercise but it’s easy to procrastinate. We know we need to eat healthy, but it’s just not convenient. We know we need to avoid certain foods, but they taste so good. And we could continue with the excuses.

            We’ve had a lot of illnesses and surgeries lately (and I’m not saying those are a result of bad habits and neglect). Outside of Walter Hill’s church family, Gail and I know so many who are battling advanced cancer and other serious illnesses. During times like these, I’m envious of an earlier time we read about in Matthew 4:23-24 – “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”

            No, I don’t want to go back under the old law, nor do I want my Savior to die on the cross again. However,  I do wish He would come and heal some of those we love. Yes, I do believe in the power of prayer but, let’s face it, sometimes these diseases are terminal, and we have to accept it. But we still say with the apostle John, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20b)! I’m ready for that day when there’ll be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4)!

            One of Jesus’ many acts of healing is recorded in John 5:1-15 – an unusual miracle because the man did not seem to even know about the Savior of the world. Here was a man who had been an invalid for 38 years and sought to be cured in the pool of Bethesda. Jesus knew the poor man’s condition according to verse 6 of the text and asked the man if he wanted to be made well. While a lot of speculation could be made about the healing power of the pool and the man’s defensive attitude about his helpless condition, the simple truth is that Jesus healed the man! It required no faith on the man’s part – he didn’t even ask to be healed. He was made whole because Jesus saw his sad condition and took the time to make his life better.

            I have often taken my good health for granted but less so now that I’m considered “elderly.” But I’ve also taken my salvation for granted because I was raised in a family who had known Jesus for several generations. As we look around our families and community, I believe there are many who are like the man at the pool of Bethesda – they don’t know Jesus. Could we find the courage to ask them a simple question like our Savior did? Maybe it begins by fixing the words of this hymn in our minds:

            Have you a heart that’s weary,

            Tending a load of care;

            Are you a soul that’s seeking

            Rest from the burden you bear?

            Do you know my Jesus,

            Do you know my friend,

            Have you heard He loves you,

            And that He will abide till the end?