"Here a great number of disabled people used to lie - the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?' " John 5:3-5 (NIV)
It seems like an odd question, doesn't it? Why wouldn't someone in this man's condition want to "get well." Greeting card companies have made money from our desire for others to 'get well soon.' And our complaint when we're sick is usually something to the effect of 'I am just ready to get out of this room/house/hospital.'
I cannot imagine having an affliction for 38 years...but it could be that one would forget how to live without it... forget what it would be like to live a "normal" life. So maybe the question isn't so bizzare afterall. Jesus had the ability to heal the man with or without his permission, but Christ wanted to know if the man desired a change in his life- because things were about to change for the man and Jesus wanted to make sure he was prepared for that change.
We all have afflictions - things that keep us from living the life we are called to live. And if you're like me, you ask over and over for them to be removed. But I wonder, am I really ready to leave that affliction behind? Am I prepared to "get well"? Or do I still want to have that reason for not living like I should?
Next time you feel like addressing a problem in your life, ask yourself Jesus' question, "Do you want to get well?"