Would it make you feel better to know that God is helping us hope? A fundamental piece of our theology and our salvation history is that God acts first. Thankfully, we are not on our own working things out nor are we left by ourselves to make hope real.
God took the initiative and sent his son, Jesus, to be the light in the darkness. The way to make hope real has already been put into action. Jesus was sent to earth, died, rose from the dead, and remains with us through the great Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a look at a scripture this week that helps unpack what I mean.
Do you want to be made well?
In John’s Gospel (Jn 5:1-16), we read the story of a man who had been ill thirty-eight years. Jesus encounters him by a pool known to have healing powers. This sick man had been there for a long time waiting to be able to enter the waters when they are “stirred up” and be healed. Jesus notices him, and asks him, “Do you want to be made well?” His response is, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”
How often do you we feel like the man by the pool, attempting to get to the healing waters on our own? When life weighs us down and we feel consumed by darkness, we think getting to the light, to the source of healing, is our task alone. Guess what? It’s not.
The man who had been ill for thirty-eight years didn’t ever make it into the waters, but he was healed by the person standing right next to him. Jesus noticed him, witnessed his pain, saw the deepest desires of the man’s heart, and responded to those desires by offering healing.
Far too often, we forget that Jesus is standing right next to us. We can rest assured. God is laboring for us to help us get to the healing waters, to help us see the light in the darkness, and to help us know the step forward.
Sometimes, we think we have to accomplish something or get to a certain point to be “made well”. God is acting on our behalf right now as we are. We simply have to remember that Jesus is already there with us, offering an extended hand in the darkness. God desires us to be made well.
How can we notice God’s initiative in our lives?
At times, it’s through the restlessness we feel inside that seems to be calling us to something more. When we feel restless, even though it might not be the best feeling in the world, we can be hopeful that this is God speaking to us calling us to a relationship with God or a deeper trust in God. If we encounter restlessness within us, we can pause, notice it, and ask what is it you are trying to tell me, God?
Other times, it might be when we feel we are alone, we get an unexpected encounter with another person who lifts our spirits and helps us hope or maybe we get a felt sense of peace within us reminding us of God’s presence in our lives. The answered prayer to our loneliness is God’s way of reminding us of Jesus’ promise – “I will not leave you orphaned.” (John 14:18)
We might notice walking through a hard time and hear ourselves ask, “I am not sure how I made it through.” That’s an experience of God’s grace carrying us through and holding us in ways we do not even know how to ask.
What does being made well look like for you right now?
- Do you desire physical healing for yourself or someone else?
- Do seek to be free from something that binds you?
- Do you need help seeing light in a dark situation?
- Do you need strength to get through a tough situation?
- Are you struggling to hope?
We can have confidence that Jesus is standing right here with us. He is posing the same question to us as he did to the man who had been ill thirty-eight years. How might you respond to the question, “Do you want to be made well?”
Are we willing to answer this question posed to us, which is God acting first, with a resounding “yes!”?
Scriptures To Help Us Remember God Acts First:
- John 5: 1-16 – Jesus healing the man ill for 38 years
- Jeremiah 29:11 – Plans for your welfare and a future full of hope
- Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold unwaveringly to the confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy”
- Jn 17: 11-19 – Jesus praying for us
- Sirach 34: 16-20 – “He lifts up spirits, brings a sparkle to the eyes, gives health and life and blessing”
CT Women Devotions:
This week, I wrote the daily devotions for CT Women. Join me over at CT Women’s webpage for the Awaken to God devotions. Here’s a bit about it!
We long for intimacy with God, yet our lives are often dominated by busyness and distractions. How can we move from a hectic pace to a holy encounter with the almighty God? In this week’s devotions, Busy Lives & Restless Souls author Becky Eldredge invites us to consider several unique avenues of prayer drawn from church history and the spiritual teachings of 16th-century Christian Ignatius of Loyola. God is near to you in every moment—even the hectic ones! Try these prayer ideas and awaken to God’s faithful presence in your life.
Upcoming Conferences and Retreats:
- Trying to Say God Conference at Notre Dame Univeristy – Panelist for “Platform Building and the Foundations of Humility”
- USCCB’s Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America – Lead Panelist
- St. Joseph’s Academy Alumnae Retreat: Making Room for God in the Busyness (Open to any graduates of SJA in Baton Rouge)
- Rosaryville Women’s Silent Retreat: Everything is Holy Now (open to women ages 18 and up)