Friday, March 7, 2008

Faith Focuses on the Answer

“Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6)
People often focus more on the problem than they do the solution. Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda where a man who had been infirmed for thirty-eight years was waiting for the “moving of the water.” It was said that an angel would come down at a certain time and stir up the water, and whoever stepped into it first would be healed of whatever disease he had. So the man waited. When Jesus saw him lying there on his little pallet, and knowing how long he had been infirm, He asked him a very simple question: “Do you want to be made well?”

The man, however, had become so fixated on the problem (his infirmity) that he lost sight of the answer (healing), and he gave a terribly muddled answer: “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.” This was not even the primary problem, but a secondary one associated with the particular way he desired to get the primary one solved. He did not have a clear picture of the solution he needed to his real problem, so he was unable to give a straightforward response to a Jesus’ simple question. His faith, like his reply, was confused.

Jesus addressed him again, taking his focus off the problem and onto the answer. He was simple and direct: “Rise. Take up your bed. Walk.” There was healing in those words. Now it was up to the man to believe and obey what Jesus said. Had he remained focused on the complexity of his problems, he might never have heard and believed — and received his healing. But once he focused on the answer, which is always going to be found in Jesus and the Scriptures, his primary problem was solved and the secondary one was no longer relevant. He rose, took up his bed and walked.

But now consider Bartimaeus, a blind beggar who cried out for mercy as Jesus passed by (Mark 10:46-52). Jesus called him over and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus did not whine and complain about his blindness or how hard it was to be a beggar. He did not hesitate, but immediately spoke out the solution he desired, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” He did not deny the problem. He fully recognized it, but his focus was on the answer — the One who could bring his healing to pass and restore his sight. Jesus answered, “Go your way; your faith has made you whole.” Bartimaeus immediately received his sight and followed Jesus. His faith was specific to the need, and by that faith he saw — and received — the solution to his problem.

Or remember the woman with the “issue of blood” (Matthew 9:20-22; also Luke 8:43-48). She had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, rendering her ceremonially unclean, unable to go into the temple or socialize freely with others. When Jesus passed by on His way to heal the daughter of Jairus, she saw her answer. She followed Him, watching for an opportunity to touch the tassels of His prayer shawl, the corners or “wings” of His garment (see Healing in His Corners). As she followed, she kept saying to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” She did not remind herself of what a terrible problem she had or how she had spent all her money on doctors to no avail. No, by her “self-talk” she kept herself focused on the solution: Jesus, the Son of God with “healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2). When she finally touched His tassels, her hemorrhaging immediately stopped. Jesus discovered what she had done and, instead of being angry, commended her, saying, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” By the focus of her faith, expressed by her words and actions, she laid hold of the answer to her problem.

It is helpful to identify the problem and get a good diagnosis of it. But then having done that, we must keep the focus of our faith on the Answer.

Healing Scriptures and Prayers

Healing Scriptures and Prayers
by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

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