Friday, July 17, 2020
As finite beings, we have a limited perspective on the possible. That’s why we have the word impossible. Based on two factors of knowledge and experience, we build boxes of reality and we confine all of our possibilities to that box.
In John 5, Jesus met a man who limited his possibilities to the confines of previous experience. Let’s read the story.
“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed, [waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.] One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.” John 5:2-9
Granted, the lame man did not know he was talking to the Son of God. He certainly had no idea that there was any possibility of being healed unless it fit within the confines of his reality box. His reality was that he had to do something to be healed, and every attempt to do it was met with failure. Thirty-eight years of failure. So when Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed, he answered within the confines of his personal possibility box.
I have one of those boxes. But every now and then I am able to see outside of it, and then I get to watch God do something miraculous. Sometimes they are simple things. Others are even silly. But every one is outside the confines of my reality.
One time my windshield wipers quit working in a heavy downpour of rain. I was traveling from North Dakota to St. Paul during college. It was a Sunday evening. There was nowhere to stop for repairs. As I struggled to see, I prayed outside my box. I hadn’t even said amen when the wipers began working again.
I will never forget the night Denise and I prayed outside the box of our reality for our son Joshua. It was the night before scheduled surgery on his feet to repair a birth defect. Reality said we were in for weeks of recovery. But outside our reality, we woke the next morning to discover that surgery was no longer needed.
The man in our story saw only the reality of impossibility. Jesus accepted his answer as a yes. Jesus told him to get up and walk, and upon uttering the words the man was healed. He rose, and walked. His reality box was shattered. He had a whole new understanding of possibilities. He had discovered that with God, nothing is impossible.