Do You Want to Get Well?

by James Smith,

There’s a story about a man who had been sick for 38 years.  He would be taken to this pool that had healing properties.  Whenever the waters would stir, the first one to get down into the water would be healed from their ailments.  Understandably, a large number of sick people would gather by this pool and try to be the first to get in.  Being lame, there was no way that this man could get into the pool before others.

None of us are completely perfect.  We all have some type of ailment, whether physical or not.

Jesus comes by one day and sees the man.  The question he asks the man is profound.  Jesus looks at him, knowing he has been sick a very long time, and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  (John 5)

Why do you think Jesus would ask this man if he wanted to get well?  Don’t sick people want to get well?  Isn’t the answer obvious?

I think the question “Do you want to get well?” is a question that must be asked and it must be answered by us all.  There are a lot of people in the world who are sick from a lot of different ailments.  Some ailments are physical, but others are emotional, spiritual, psychological, or physiological.  There are even some socio-economic ailments related to poverty or the cultures in which we belong.  Some people seem content to live life in continual sickness.  We’ll think, or even say, that we would like to change, but we seldom ever do.  Why?

So along comes Jesus, or someone else, into our lives and they see the sickness in which we live.  They see the scars and the hurt in our emotional or psychological lives.  They see our poor physical health from our poor habits connected to our diets or smoking or lifestyle choices.  The see the spiritual emptiness that characterizes our spiritual lives.  In some way, we are asked, “Do you want to get well?”

Do you want to change your health?  Do you want to change your relationships with those around you?  Do you want to change your family?  Do you want to change your marriage?  Do you want to change you economic situation?  Do you want to change your emotional or psychological condition?  Do you want to change your relationship with God?

The answer may never be expressed in words.  The answer is expressed in what you do and what you change.

Jesus asked the man at the pool, “Do you want to get well?”  On getting an affirmative answer, he told the man, “Get up, pick up your mat and walk.”  For the first time in 38 years, the man got up and walked.

None of us are completely perfect.  We all have some type of ailment, whether physical or not.  Yet God wants us to be whole and well.  But we have to want it.  We have to want to get well.  We have to want to change.  We have to want to break our destructive habits, heal the hurts and scars, give up our laziness or crutches. We have to get up, pick up our mat and walk.  We will never do that unless we want to get well.

So, do you want to get well?  Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

— James Smith is the author of “The House That Richard Built” coming out in April 2012 at All Star Press.

The Ticking Clock

by James Smith,

Dark Bedroom ClockIn my bedroom is a clock.  It’s not digital, but it has the round face with the numbers 1 – 12 and a couple of hands that spin around it.  And it ticks!  We get so used to the clock that we typically don’t notice the ticking anymore.  Last night I noticed the ticking.  Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick….

Each of those ticks represent a second of my life.  Tick, tick, tick, tick…  They go by so fast.  A second may not seem like a long time but when you add several together you eventually have a minute.  Add a few more and you have an hour.  The hours turn into days, the days weeks, and the weeks years.  All made up of individual seconds.

As the seconds of my life were ticking off that clock, I thought about the fact that with each tick a second of time was gone forever.  Wow!  How precious each moment of our lives are when we hear the wheels of time rolling.

The question becomes, “How valuable do we see those ticks of life’s clock?” The answer is found in how we spend them, what we do with them.  For me, I want every second to count for something.  I want every tick of my life’s clock to be valuable in some way to someone.  Whether it’s God, my wife, my children, my church, my friends, my community, or myself, I want to use those valuable seconds to make me or others better.  It all comes down to how I choose to spend them.

My Bible says in the letter of James that our life is a “mist.”  It’s here today but tomorrow may be gone.  Several psalms compare life to grass of the field, here today but gone tomorrow.  We have no idea when our clocks are going to stop ticking, that makes every tick a gift from God – a gift to be treasured and used for something marvelous and wonderful.

Thoreau wrote in Walden, “I went to the woods to live deliberately; to drink deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”  Drink deep of this wonderful gift of life.  If you’re reading this today, God gave you a gift of another day in time.  What are you going to do with it?  How are you going to show your appreciation to Him for it?  Do you value the gift?  What are you going to spend your time doing today?

Watching TV?  Playing video games?  On Facebook?  Or maybe talking to God?  Spending time with people?  Reading God’s Message to you?  Serving the poor?  Making your community a better place?  Connecting with co-workers?  Loving your spouse and children?

There’s a million choices that we can make each day on how we’re going to spend the ticks on our clocks.  How are you going to spend yours today?  How valuable do you see them?  Are you going to make them matter?

Tick, tick, tick…


— written by James Smith