I was complaining recently. Not good, godly complaint, like David in the Psalms when he cries out to God.
More like grumbling-complaining. Like the Israelites after they’re freed from Egyptian slavery and they end up crying in the desert, wanting meat instead of manna, wishing for the cucumbers they left near the Nile River instead of the milk and honey of the promised land.
Except the cucumbers in my story have another name – Humira. The medication that was supposed to deliver me from my arthritis. The medication that doctors just took me off.
So I was complaining to Abigail about Humira and about all of the treatments I’ve failed in the past two years… the medications and diet changes, the oils and supplements. I even stood in a giant cylinder that blows icy -270°F air at you for three minutes, for heaven’s sake. And I paid for it. And I did it more than once. But that’s besides the point.
So as I was going on and on when Abigail interrupted me.
“You sound like the man at the pool.”
“The man at the pool…the paralyzed man Jesus healed.”
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool…where a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years.
When Jesus saw him lying there…he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” he replied, “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.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:2-8
The man at the pool thought he knew how he was going to get well.
He was in the right place. He had a plan. He thought that if he just laid on his mat long enough, if he just stayed close to the “healing” waters, someone would eventually help him into the pool and the pool would cure him.
But then Jesus came.
A traveling preacher from Galilee bent down, looked at a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years, and lifted him to his feet. Jesus healed him personally and completely – without the pool at all.
I don’t know if you, like me, have put your faith in a “pool.” A new medication or therapy, a relationship or a job change, a move, a vacation, a long-awaited hope or dream.
The truth is – I thought that Humira was going to heal me. I prayed about it, took it on time, read all the research, persevered through side-effects, and hoped and hoped and hoped. But despite everything my doctors said, despite everything that I did right – it wasn’t the answer.
Because sometimes the things we think will make us better – the places, the people, the situations we hope will heal us – they just don’t work out the way we thought they would.
And in those times – in the times of waiting and wondering and asking “why?” – all we can do is trust. We have to trust in the God who works outside of the “pool.”
Humira isn’t the end of my story. And it’s not at the end your story either.
God works in strange, unexpected ways. So keep watching.
You never know when Jesus might show up.
Just look at the man at the pool.