Misplaced Faith

In the gospel of John chapter 5 we find a man who is unable to walk due a disability waiting for an opportunity to be healed.  In order to receive this miracle it would be important for a couple of things to happen almost simultaneously. First, the story says that an angel comes down to “stir” or agitate the water.  Secondly, the person needing to be healed would have to be the first to get into the pool. For the man in our story, this would have meant that he would have to have gotten help from someone else to get into that water.

That seems to me to be an incredible sequence of events that have to take place for this man especially in the presence of others, some of whom must have been presumably less disabled, who were in competition for this miracle!

Jesus comes upon him and asks, “Do you want to be healed?”  While the answer to this question should have been a resounding “YES!”, it wasn’t.  In fact, the man never answers Jesus question at all but rather points to major obstacle to his deliverance.  He tells Jesus, “I’ve got nobody to help me into the water.”

The problem with his response points to what I call “Misplaced Faith” and I say this for 2 reasons.

First of all this man had placed his faith in other people rather than God.  He concluded that unless someone helped him, he couldn’t get beyond his place of bondage.  This is an obstacle that many of us allow to hinder us from moving forward. Because we may feel as though we’ve been dealt a bad hand by our families, our employers or even the government systems, we conclude that we cannot move beyond our own places of bondage.  And while it is true that we all could use some help from time to time, the best help you can ever get comes from God.

King David who had the support and assistance of his own army and his subjects says in Psalms 121, “Where does my help come from?  All my help comes from the Lord.” I’ve been the beneficiary of the kindness and of a great many people and continue to benefit from others.  But ultimately, I look to Jesus as my help.

Secondly, the man at the Pool of Bethesda had Misplaced Faith because he put all his faith in a particular means of blessing.  He concluded that the only way he’d be healed is if happened by getting in this water after the angel stirred the waters. He limited God to only one method of deliverance.  

Is God really that small?  Is He really that limited? We tend be creatures of habit.  If we find that something works for us one time, we’ll continue to do that same thing the next time.  If God blesses us one way, we expect Him to bless us like that every time. But think about it? How many times have you prayed for God to bless you one way and He blesses you in a way you hadn’t even considered?  It happens to me all of the time. But we still try to put God in a box and place our faith in methods rather than God alone.

I heard recently that the only thing you get when you try to put God in a box is a broken box.

Jesus heals the man and does it with nothing more than a spoken word, “Rise”.  If you’re praying for something that has been an area of bondage for a few moments, a few weeks or even several years, I want to encourage you to keep it up and place your faith in God and God alone.