Don’t You Want To Feel Better?

“Don’t you want to feel better?”

Our middle son has a flare for the dramatic. He will undoubtedly be a phenomenal actor or a tremendous athlete that can draw a foul with a performance rivaled with Daniel Day-Lewis. Some of his best dramatic roles happen when he is under the weather, typified by a runny nose and a slight cough. Nothing troublesome, but he doesn’t handle discomfort well. At the beginning of his cold, he is more than a little reluctant to blow his nose and take some natural cough suppressants. However, the sicker he gets, the more disagreeable he becomes. It is as though any type of relief we could provide is worse than his present circumstance, and so he revolts and repels our attempts to offer help. A while ago, we discovered a fantastic invention, a lollipop made to soothe the throat when the coughing becomes unbearable. They are made with all-natural honey, vitamin C, and a little pectin to help break up the bad stuff. Here’s our thought: it looks like a sucker (which kids love); it is good for him and will help him feel better. However, when he is at his sickest, he will not even attempt to utilize the sucker. He will refuse even to open his mouth… and as a parent trying to do their best at 2 AM, it is possibly the most infuriating action ever. When he begins acting like this, I ask, “Don’t you want to feel better?” And I know that it will help, but he can’t imagine how this little lollipop will help in his pain and suffering, so he refuses it and grits his teeth.     

Two passages come to mind when this happens. Both happen during Jesus’ ministry and come from the Master teacher. 

John 5:5-8 
“Now a man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 Jesus, upon seeing this man lying [there] and knowing that he had already been [in that condition] for a long time, said to him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.”

In this narrative, we see Jesus purposely single out this man. A man that has been infirm and paralyzed for 38 years. I can only imagine how difficult of an existence this would have been. It would be difficult today, but it would have been an unfortunate reality in the first century Judea. Jesus knows the man’s story, and his misery asks him literally, “Do you want to be made whole?” What a tremendous question for us all to answer. Do we want to be complete or restored? The man responds in a nonspiritual fashion on why it would be impossible for him to be made well. However, it is evident by his answer that he does wish to be whole again, but he sees no possibility for it to happen. And so, with a simple phrase, Jesus heals and restores the invalid. He sent him on his way. 

Some people in the world want to be made well. They are tired of the incompleteness they feel. They are wearied from the drudgery of trying to heal themselves. They have exhausted all possibilities and have no relief. When we encounter these individuals, we must ask the question, “Do you want to get well?” And when they want to know more, we show them our Savior. 

However, there is another type of person that exists in the world. They are the kind that knows there is a possibility of being healed, but they don’t want any sort of discomfort in the process. Therefore, regardless of the treatment’s benefits, any change or transformation is deemed painful, grit their teeth, and avoid being made whole. Jesus describes these people as swine, content to live in the mud, and will defend their mess tooth and nail. 

Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

The tricky part is knowing which type of people we are dealing with when we ask the question. First, however, we must always ask the question, “Do want to be made well?” Like a parent, we continue to offer the soothing lollipop. When we offer our Savior a salve for their souls, they might turn and gore us, but we still provide the medicine. We know that Jesus is the only thing that will satisfy and restore, so we must share, but there is always the reality that someone does not want to be made well. That doesn’t prohibit us from asking, but it provides answers when someone refuses the help of the Great Physician.  

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