Do You Really Want Change?

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Many of us dread the possibility of God making a radical change in our lives, even if our lips pray for one. The familiar is much more comfortable, even when it isn’t good.

It seemed like an obvious question, and Jesus didn’t normally ask that sort of thing. In fact, he had seen into the heart of a Samaritan woman, a curious Pharisee, and many others. So when he asked a paralyzed man, “What do you want me to do for you?” the answer isn’t hard to imagine. A paralytic would want to walk, right?

Interestingly, the man never answered Jesus’ question. And hints in the text (John 5:1-9) suggest that there was a good reason for Jesus to ask it. For years, the man had waited by the Bethesda pools and had never yet managed to get in it when the water stirred. He was waiting for a miracle, but without any apparent expectation of one. Did he really want to get well? Perhaps not as much as we’d think.

That’s often true of hearts that long for change but are attached to the status quo. Deep down, many of us dread the possibility of God making a radical change in our lives, even if our lips pray for one. The familiar is much more comfortable, even when it isn’t good—which is why some people stay in oppressive or abusive situations. It’s what they know. If freedom, healing, and joy have never felt like part of our identity, we tend to seek them without really seeking them. 

Nevertheless, Jesus offers radical change, even for those who are stuck in the familiar. Don’t be afraid, even if he takes you into unknown experiences. Wherever he’s leading is good. By faith, let him take you there.

 

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