“Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?” The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.” John 5:1b-9 (MSG)


Waiting isn’t for the faint of heart. Have you ever felt God put something in your heart, but it took years for it to come to fruition? Sometimes the deepest things that we desire require us to wait.  We can let the process of waiting forge hope or bitterness in our hearts.

Over the course of 38 years, the sick man had spent about 13,870 days waiting by the pool. When Jesus came to him, Jesus knew the facts of the sick man’s situation. When Jesus asks him a question, the sick man responds indirectly. He told Jesus why it had not been possible for him to get well; he was too slow to get in the pool. He had been surrounded by the blind, crippled, and paralyzed for a long time.  You almost think that Jesus would have reprimanded him for spending over 13,000 days by the pool without making it in the pool. For an outsider looking in, 38 years is a long time to wait for an answer. But, we have to wait for answers, as well. Maybe you have been inflicted with a health issue, waiting for a son or daughter to find reconciliation with Christ, or faced financial problems for years. And like the sick man, we tell Jesus why the situation can’t be changed.  What seemed to be an instantaneous miracle to onlookers was a miracle that the sick man had waited for 38 years to receive. Jesus was not deterred by the man’s loss of hope but gave him a miraculous answer. Even when you are barely holding on to hope, Jesus comes to your moments of disappointment and despair and can breathe life into your heart.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.