Has God ever asked you a question so clearly that you squirmed with the discomfort of it? Once, God asked me a question: Do you want…?
A number of years back, I was sitting in church. That morning my rejection issues rose up and called me condemned.
People’s words and compliments filtered through that rejection lens and came through as warped and untrue. I doubted any good thing said, and pain burrowed into my heart.
All of a sudden, this question shouted in my mind:
“Do you want to be made well?”
Of course, I wanted to be made well. To not struggle with the thoughts and the emotions that flooded me.
Jesus asked this question of the man laying near the Pool of Bethesda. He’d been sick for thirty-eight years (See John 5).
Did Jesus even have to ask if he wanted to be made well? Of course, he did!
Maybe the man was justifying his situation because he wanted Jesus to understand, to agree to sit with him and help him to the pool when the angel stirred the waters.
Maybe he didn’t know who Jesus was.
When God asks a question
Doesn’t God still do this sometimes? He asks a question that should have an obvious answer.
But, maybe we’ve been living with the condition for a long time.
Maybe the scars of abuse have impacted us our entire lives. Maybe we’ve dealt with an illness for years. Maybe we’ve been out of a job for months.
And He asks the question: Do you want____?
The man’s answer fascinates me. He may have had only a smidgen of hope left. He was laying by the healing pool, after all. But he didn’t dare hope he could actually be the one to be healed.
He was stuck in the mindset that he knew.
Truths about God’s questions
Sometimes, for our prayers to be fully answered, God must shift our perspective from what seems to be to what could be.
Sometimes He needs to shake us out of our “this-is-the-way-it-will-always-be” mindset before we can envision the changes He could make . . . if we choose to put our faith in Him.
Making excuses for why we are where we are feels safer than risking and hoping things could be different.
We attempt to control our circumstances by not earnestly hoping—not fervently trusting—that God can do that which our heart secretly longs for.
When God asks the question: Do you want______? He’s inviting us into a deeper relationship with Him.
It’s an invitation to trust the Creator of all things with the hurts in our hearts,
. . . the desires we’ve held close,
. . . the needs we’ve struggled with.
Are we willing to say, “Yes, I want to be healed? I want to be cared for? I want to be free?”
Unless our answer is yes, we can never know the miracles God may do in our lives.
Jesus must have seen the man’s heart. Maybe His words were a test. He told the man, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk.”
The man had a choice . . . He could continue to lie there because, of course, he couldn’t walk.
Or, he could act on Jesus’ words.
Perhaps this man saw something in Jesus that gave him the confidence to trust Him.
God’s more than able to—without a word—touch that wounded place in our lives and call it healed.
But, He desires a relationship. Sometimes, God tests us, not immediately giving us what He knows we want.
God invites us to take a step into the unknown and trust that He’ll be there to meet us, to walk with us, to help us.
Here’s what it comes down to . . . how will we answer His question: Do you want___?
I grappled with this question the morning God asked. I yearned to be made well. But that meant I would have to trust Him to renew my mind, to help me see interactions through His eyes rather than through my distorted filter.
Saying yes, in my case, has led me on a step-by-step path toward healing in my heart and thoughts.
When we seek a relationship with Jesus . . .
When we believe and act on His word . . .
He meets us in our uncertainty—in our need—and brings healing and restoration to the broken places in our lives.
What about you? When has God challenged you with a question? What helps you to choose to trust in God when He’s showing you a change in your life?
Click to Tweet: Sometimes, for our prayers to be fully answered, God must shift our perspective from what seems to be to what could be.
I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkUp and #TellHisStory
Sign up for monthly notes filled with encouragement, updates, and glimpses of how God shows up in each day. Receive free encouragement resources!
That Jesus longs to draw us into a closer relationship is precious….although often more than I can really imagine, appreciate or understand. So grateful He will ask the pointed questions…whatever it takes to teach me trust, to take action and, ultimately, to see Him work.
What a blessing your posts continue to be for me!! I pray you have a wonderful, peace-filled week ahead!
Jennifer, I’m always in awe of how patient the Lord is with me. I’m with you . . . grateful He asks the pointed questions, and that He waits as I grapple with the answer. And then He meets me in those places when I see ugly truths about myself. AND, He refines /e/us and helps us become more of who He designed us to be. You are a blessing to me, Jennifer. Thank you for always stopping by. I appreciate you!
Such a great question! I’ve asked it a few times and I think I doubt too much! I need to ask God to help me overcome my unbelief that He can heal me! Thank you for this post!
Julie, I struggle with doubt too. I’m getting better about this, but there are times . . . and I’ve discovered fear is usually what drives the doubt. Thank you for stopping by!
“We attempt to control our circumstances by not earnestly hoping—not fervently trusting—that God can do that which our heart secretly longs for.”
Such an important message that is sometimes so hard to hear. God bless and thanks!
Thanks, Nancy. May we always have ears to hear the Lord when He speaks to our hearts! Thanks so much for stopping by!
What a powerful and incisive post, Jeanne! God does ask us some questions that seem to have obvious answers just to get the wheels turning in our head. He promises to be with us for every step of the journey to wellness.
Laurie, sometimes I have to grin at how God works. Sometimes I insist on walking into my own mess, and He lets me. All so that I will be ready to listen and consider I’m learning to really listen to and ponder my answers to His questions. 🙂 I’m thankful He is always with us!
Wow, Jeanne, this is so good. You are right: “Sometimes, for our prayers to be fully answered, God must shift our perspective from what seems to be to what could be.”
God has His ways of stretching us, doesn’t He, Jessica? I’m grateful that He is so patient and persistent to help us become all He has ordained us to be. Thanks for stopping by!
Oh, this sounds like me! The Lord keeps on working and working on me in this. “He meets us in our uncertainty—in our need—and brings healing and restoration to the broken places in our lives.” So thankful for this gracious and loving Father, Healer, Savior and King!
Melissa, I feel like I’m still learning how to listen to the Lord consistently. Like you, I’m grateful the Lord mets us in our needs and shows Himself faithful in so many ways. Thanks so much for stoping by!
It is so gracious that God will change our perspective from what is to what could be. How often do we hear the question and not realize (at least the first time) that this is what He is doing? Great post.
Agreed, Beth. I’m grateful God will change our perspective, when we look to Him. And yes, I’ve been the one who doesn’t hear the question the first time around because I wasn’t listening well. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
First, I love all your photos in the post. They spoke peace to me as I read your thoughts. Sometimes, I think, God does give us the opportunity to trust Him. Sometimes, I fail in the wait. But, through them my faith grows. Thanks
Yvonne, thank you so much for stopping by and for your encouraging words. I’m like you, sometimes failing in the wait. I’m beyond thankful for God’s mercies that are new every morning, and throughout every day. And I’m thankful that the Lord gives us opportunities for our faith to grow, even when we fail.
Over the years as my faith has grown, I have felt times when God would give me opportunity to trust Him or question His plan. My choice is to trust Him. 🙂
Trusting Him is always best, isn’t it, Melissa? I so appreciate you stopping by!
Jesus’ questions were powerful, to the point then … and now. Sometimes we don’t want to be well … we’ve become content in the way things are and at least it all is familiar … and often comfortable in a wierd way
And then there’s fear. For who might I be if I actually invited Him to touch this area in my heart that I’m still holding as my own.
Powerful post, necessary reading, Jeanne.
Linda, Jesus’ questions are powerful. 🙂 He knows how to ask things that aren’t simply a yes/no answer. We have to think through what He’s said, what we know about Him, and where we’re at situationally in our lives.
And yes, sometimes we’d rather stay unhealthy where we are rather than move into a place of being healthy if we have to risk leaving the comfort zone. And yeah, fear. I’m going to be blogging about that soon. That’s a big thing too, isn’t it? Thanks so much for your encouragement, my friend!
Oh Iove your description of the “rejection lens.” Been looking through that lens before. The question, Do you want… Seems obvious that we would say yes, but saying yes means getting out of our comfort zone. And sometimes if we are honest the answer is “not yet,” or “how will my life change? Tell me all the details first.” Let us have the courage to say yes and go on a journey with him.
Love that big tree picture.
Yes, Theresa. And “not yet” has been my answer sometimes, too. I am learning to relinquish control to the Lord, but it’s not always easy, is it? I’m so glad our Father loves us enough to confront us sometimes. Thanks for stopping by!
I loved reading your thoughts here, Jeanne! This is a question God has challenged me with too. It is easy to settle for the way things are, especially when it’s been that way for a long time, rather than daring to believe that God can actually change things. The journey can be scary and uncertain and not always easy but I am definitely glad I said yes!
Lesley, sometimes the familiar feels safer, definitely less risky. But it seems like when He’s calling us into something bigger or different, the greater risk is staying where we’ve become comfortable. 🙂
Wow, Jeanne, this is so profound. I admit I still often look through that distorted filter. There have been times when I’ve asked God to take away the thorn of this chronic illness, but He always reminds me His grace is sufficient. There were times He asked me that question, “Do you want to be made well?” Yes, please, Lord! And sometimes He asks me, “Do you trust Me?” After reading Andrew’s response, it has dawned on me that though God hasn’t taken away this thorn, He has used it to bring me into a closer relationship with Him which in turn helps me to look more through His lens of who I am instead of the distorted lens of past abuse and lies Satan still pummels my heart with. As you write, sometimes God tests us, not immediately giving us what we want. Thank you for prompting me to reflect on all of this. It’s good to search our hearts. Love and blessings to you!
Trudy, it seems like learning to let go of those distorted filters takes a LONG time. I love the insights you shared about your own personal challenges. It is good to search our hearts. Thanks for your words here, sweet friend! Sending you love and blessings back!
“Sometimes He needs to shake us out of our “this-is-the-way-it-will-always-be” mindset before we can envision the changes He could make.” Yup! I resonated with that sentence, for sure! Asking God to transform my believes into His promises is a prayer for every moment of insecurity. He is the God of miracles after all!
That sentence got me thinking too, Lynn. It is truly a trust journey when we ask Him to transform our beliefs and trust that He keeps promises. Thanks for your words here.
Your words are a push toward a relationship with God that impacts every area of life–rather than a business-arrangement where we each contribute our part and somehow profit from it.
Blessings to you!
Exactly, Michele. God is all about relationship, isn’t He? I think the profit comes in knowing and being known more deeply by Him. I mean, He already knows all that there is to know about us, but we get to know Him better, right?
Profound treatment of a tough subject. Well done!
In cancer I have been made well
although it’s gonna kill me;
I’ve found the place where angels dwell,
and they’ve come to set me free.
My wants are largely stripped away
like a serpent’s outgrown skin
and underneath, I see today,
a call to a Cross-topped bryn.
I lived within the pride of life,
I lived for the madding rush
that drove me deep upon the knife
and was stopped – by a terminal hush.
Then a quiet voice – “My son,
you’ll never lose what for you I won.”
(‘bryn’ is a Welsh word for hill)
Thank you, Andrew. This brings tears to my eyes – “My son, you’ll never lose what for you I won.” That comforts my heart. I’m so sorry you deal with cancer, but I’m so grateful God heals you in other ways. Blessings to you!
Thank you so much, Trudy, for these gracious words; they mean a lot to me.
Andrew, this is profound, beautiful. Your testimony wrapped in these words is powerful. Our Lord reassures us when all feels lost. Thank you for digging down to the main point of our faith. We cannot lose that which Jesus gifted to us.
I’m praying for you, my friend.
We cannot lose that which Jesus gifted us. Thank you, Jeanne and Andrew. Beautiful testimony.
Thanks for your words, Lisa!