Statistics show that the average person spends close to an hour everyday WAITING for something – elevators, traffic lights, your turn at the intersection, your turn to pay at the grocery store, a cup of coffee, a table or your food at a restaurant, your computer to load, and even the microwave…which is supposed to keep us from waiting for the oven!
When you add up all that WAITING over a lifespan of 70 years, the average person will spend more than 3 years of their lives WAITING for something to happen.
In John 5:1-17, we see the story of a man who waited 38 years for healing.
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. (John 5:1-3)
This guy had been sitting by this pool longer than anyone could remember. He had his permanent handicapped parking permit and reserved spot at the pool!
38 years is a long time! Almost four decades! It’s longer than the average life-span in the first century.
He was out of referrals. His condition was incurable. This guy had been WAITING on a miracle that never came for 38 years.
I think something had happened to this guy’s heart. He had been waiting for so long. People in the crowd kept pushing past Him. Someone else often got the miracle He had been hoping to get. And I believe the weakness in his BODY and the length of the WAIT, had caused him to lower his expectations and to start to give up hope.
THE REAL PROBLEM ISN'T THE WAITING - IT'S WHAT HAPPENS IN OUR HEARTS WHILE WE WAIT.
Jesus walks into this area filled with hundreds of really sick people, and it isn’t this guy’s FAITH that gets God’s attention. It isn’t his prayers, moral character or fierce perseverance that moves Jesus. It’s the fact that Jesus KNOWS (v. 6) he had been sick and suffering for a really long time and this dude’s pain ROCKED JESUS’ WORLD.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalm 34:18)
Something about the fact that for 38 years this dude had been NEGLECTED, PASSED OVER, PASSED BY and PASSED UP. This man’s PAIN puts him on a collision course with the RECKLESS LOVE and AMAZING GRACE of Jesus.
In the New Testament, one of the characteristics that marks the ministry of Jesus is that He couldn’t look at a crowd and not be moved by the STORIES of people in that crowd. So many times in the gospels it say stuff like this:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless… (Matthew 9:36)
Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14 & Mark 6:34)
When Jesus used a story to demonstrate God’s heart for people, He described the Heavenly Father like this:
…while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)
The Bible calls God “…the Father of mercy and compassion and the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)
Some miracles in the New Testament occur in response to a person’s faith… That happens! But other miracles occur because when the COMPASSION, MERCY, GRACE and LOVE of God comes into contact with our pain — any pain — it can’t help but bring HEALING, REDEMPTION, FREEDOM and DELIVERANCE!
Jesus had compassion on the sick. That’s why He healed them!
He had compassion for the oppressed. That’s why He set people free!
He had compassion for the possessed. That’s why He ministered deliverance!
He had compassion for people in personal pain and loss. That’s why He ministered comfort, healing and resurrection!
He had compassion for the people living in bondage and slavery to sin. That’s why He died to redeem people!
You may have never thought of it before, but Jesus has compassion on you! Just like He knew what was going on with this man who hadn’t been able to walk for 38 years, He knows what’s going on with you!
JESUS ALWAYS MOVES TOWARDS BROKENNESS.
HE NEVER RUNS FROM IT.
He knows when your heart is breaking…
He knows when you feel like you can’t believe…
He understands how waiting can whither hope…
And today, He is not running away from You, He is running TOWARDS YOU!