Copyright 2006 Rob Marshall
He sighed as he thought to himself, “Why do I keep coming back here? I come here every day and nothing ever changes, nothing happens. When the angel moves the water, someone always gets into the pool before I do. If I just had someone who could help me, but there’s no one who will come and wait here with me. If there was just some other way to get healed.”
Suddenly someone’s shadow came over him. He looked up, squinting into the sun to see who it was. The man who was standing there looked down at him and asked, “Do you want to get well?”
“Do I want to get well?” the man thought. “Yes, I want to get well, but I can’t,” he replied. He told the stranger about not being able to get into the pool after the angel moved the water. But the stranger looked down at him and said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
He couldn’t believe it; he felt a surge of energy in his legs. Was this really happening? Was he healed?
He pushed himself up, picked up his mat and began walking. It was a miracle!
Maybe you’ve prayed for something for a long time but nothing seemed to change. And to add to your frustration, you kept seeing other people getting answers to their prayers while yours seemed to be unanswered.
Perhaps you recognize this story from John chapter 5 about the lame man who had been coming to the pool called Bethesda. In the story it says that a great multitude of people who were blind, lame, or paralyzed were at the pool, each of them hoping that he would be the first one to get into the pool and be healed.
Have you ever wondered, when there were so many people there who wanted to be healed, why it was that Jesus only healed one of them?
We can speculate about a lot of things. Was this man more righteous than any of the other people? No! When we read the rest of the story, we see that Jesus found the man at the temple, and warned him that he would need to stop sinning or something worse would happen. So at the time Jesus healed the man, he was a sinner.
Was the man more deserving? No! He was just one person who was loved by God, just like all the rest. God never shows favoritism, He loves us all equally.
Perhaps the one thing that set this man apart from everyone else, was that he was willing to believe that there was another way to be healed. Maybe he understood that stepping into the pool was one way, but not the only way, to be made well. This man, unlike everyone else at the pool, was willing to question his beliefs and have the faith that it was God who heals, and not the pool at Bethesda.
One of the first secrets to answered prayer is that we have to be willing to question our current beliefs about answered prayer. We have to be willing to recognize that it’s God who answers our prayers. It’s not about a formula we might use, or anything else. It’s simply about having faith in a loving God.
The beliefs that we hold affect our thoughts and emotions. They influence our actions and they even effect what we are willing, and able, to see.
An experiment was done where a room full of people were asked to watch a video. The video showed two basketball teams in different colored uniforms passing the ball back and forth. They were asked to count how many times the ball was passed to someone on the team wearing the yellow uniforms.
When the video was over, the researchers asked them if they had seen anything unusual, and two or three of the people raised their hands. The researchers then replayed the video and everyone laughed when they saw that part way through the video, someone dressed in a gorilla outfit walked into the middle of the picture and waved several times.
Why had most of the people missed the gorilla? The simple answer is: They were looking for something else.
Like the people laying around the pool at Bethesda, we can get so caught up in thinking about how God has to answer our prayers, that we’re not open to Him doing it some other way.
If you believe that God will only answer your prayers if you meet certain requirements, challenge your belief. If you believe that you are not worthy of God’s love, challenge your belief.
God answers our prayers because He loves us, wants our joy to be full, and so that He can glorify His name. If you believe anything else, challenge your belief.