Courage Under Fire: Courage Takes the Next Step
by Marilynn Chadwick “Make a wish.” “Wish upon a star.” “I grant you three wishes.” These are all lines from some of my favorite fairy tales. A wish is exciting. Magical. But often out of our reach. Webster defines a wish as a “a strong desire to have or do something—usually unattainable.” In John 5, we read about a crippled man with a wish that looked unattainable. He had been an invalid for thirty-eight long years. Life had passed him by. Jesus noticed the man lying by the pool called Bethesda (which means “site of mercy"). The disabled would often gather around this pool. Rumor had it that people sometimes got healed when they bathed in the water. “Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked the man (John 5:6 NIV). Seems like a rather insensitive question to ask a crippled guy at a healing pool who had been desperately trying to get well for thirty-eight years. Or had he? Let’s take a closer look. The word Jesus used here for “want” is thelo, which means “to will, wish, or desire.” It not only describes a wish but also a pressing on to action. Simply put, thelo executes. “Do you want to get well?” Notice the man never really answered Jesus’ question. Instead, he gave a couple of excuses. He had no one to help him get into the water. Every time he tried to get near the pool someone else got there first. Jesus' response? A startling command: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:8). Look at what happened next. “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked” (John 5:9). Could the crippled man sense that Jesus had already healed him when he stood up and took that staggering first step? What was there about Jesus that ignited the faith to stand up after thirty-eight years as an invalid? That guy went from passive to active, hopeless to faith-filled, discouraged to courageous in an instant! “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:8). Could Jesus be saying something similar to us? Sometimes our act of faith—after we’ve prayed and prayed and prayed about a problem—is to “stand up, pick up our mat, and walk.” Even if we’ve asked before. Even if the answer has been slow in coming. Even if we’ve been disappointed. Even if we are afraid. What is the Lord saying to you through his Word? What is your big ask? Do you have the courage to take Jesus at his Word? Today could be your breakthrough!