Persistence pays! It’s that catchy little slogan that I’m sure most of us have heard throughout our lives! It’s what your parents told you as they encouraged you to hang in there and keep at something until you mastered it. The fact is, persistence DOES pay, as I will share with you.
Lately I have been seeing some things about the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda. The story is in John Chapter 5:1-15. At the pool, the bible says a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, would come and sit on five porches around the pool, waiting for the moving of the water. They were waiting for a supernatural event. Why? Because an angel would show up at certain times and stir the waters of the pool; then whoever could get themselves first into the pool, would experience a physical healing of their ailment. This would be the equivalent of standing in line for a surgery and they call one name maybe once or twice a day. I wonder who discovered that when the waters moved, a healing would happen…
This lame man had been coming for a long time, I believe. We aren’t really told how long, but it says he had an infirmity for 38 years. We can gather though, that he kept coming and didn’t quit. He evidently had hope that someday he would make it into that pool first. He didn’t give up. He was persistent in his hope that someday he would be healed. We don’t know how he got to the pool, but he was not able to move very fast, or get up and walk, but most likely had to rely on others. He was there every day at the pool, waiting and hoping. He did not give up.
That is persistence. Do we do that? Do we never give up, but keep hoping, keep showing up?
This man needed help to beat everyone else into the pool. He simply was physically unable to get in there first. Do we need help? I think so. One day Jesus came by, and out of all the people around that pool, He came and talked to this guy, asking him. “Do you want to be made well?” Well, yeah! The man replied that there was no one to help get him to the pool when the water was stirred and that, while he was trying to get in, another would step in before him and get the healing.
Well, hallelujah, this was his day! JESUS came by to HELP. He didn’t even need the pool when Jesus showed up! Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. He responded to Jesus’ words. I wonder what the others at the pool were thinking. As far as we can tell from the chapter, this was the only one who got healed in this story.
Persistence also helped a woman with a discharge of blood who had been seeing doctors for 12 years to no avail. (Matt. 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48) It’s a wonder she was even still alive! But oh, when Jesus got to town, she heard about Him. And here she came, defying the “law” of the land, because, with an issue of blood, she was unclean and it was illegal for her to touch Him, but she did anyway IN FAITH. And she got what she came for. You see, God loves people.
The Syrophoenician woman, an outsider (not a Jew) with no covenant with God, would not let go…she wanted her daughter healed, even when Jesus basically insulted her by calling her a dog. She got what she wanted AND a commendation from Jesus about her faith. I love her spunk. If you read the story, you will see that she was never swayed by what Jesus said to her. She had a ready comeback for every discouraging word He put out there. She was focused on the prize, which was healing for her daughter. God really loves people. (Matt. 15:21-28, Mark 7:25-30)
The guys who lowered their lame buddy through a roof weren’t going to let a crowd stop them. They couldn’t get to Jesus through the front door because the crowd was so large, so they got up on the roof and dug a hole in it and lowered their friend right down through it so Jesus could see him and heal him. (Luke 5:17-26)
As you can see, desperate people went to exorbitant lengths to get healed. And they got healed because God REALLY loves people.
Are we desperate to be healed of our emotional wounds? If we have much pain, most of us desperately want out of that. Just how willing are we to go as far as we need to obtain what we need from God? Will we go as far as these examples I have given here? Would you carve a hole in someone’s roof to get your buddy healed? Would you defy the “law” and what people think, to obtain your healing? Would you come day after day to a pool where healing is happening sometimes, but you are so crippled you can’t get your body in the pool in time? Would you do these things? Would you, knowing you had no right to it, continue to press God for it anyway, not really knowing if it would be granted, like the Syrophoenician woman? Or do we back off, and say, well, if it’s God’s will, then I’ll be healed.
No, friend, I think the bible shows that one must have a different kind of thinking. When I study all the healings in the New Testament, I find that MOST of them were not initiated by Jesus. Instead, the majority of healing happened as people heard about Him and pursued Him. Very, very few were initiated by Him. I think I have found maybe two. Do you want healing for your body? These stories show the pattern on how to get it.
Pray with me: Jesus, sometimes the wait seems so long and I get tired of holding on and waiting for what I need from You. Your word says that hope is the anchor of my soul, so I ask you today to reveal Yourself, Your power and love in a greater way to me to encourage my faith to keep standing and believing and trusting You for everything. You are the God of encouragement. I commit to study Your word and meditate on Your promises so I can know what you have for me.
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