If only I was taller. If only I made more money, had that job, had that house, or car. If only my kids were like their kids. If only I could finish that project that I’ve been working on. If only I hadn’t made that stupid decision and screwed up my life. If only…

Do you have some if onlys?

Our man in today’s Gospel did. He was among the number of the sick, paralyzed, lame and blind persons near the Bethesda pool at the sheep gate in the Temple. The word Bethesda means “House of Mercy” in Hebrew and superstitious legend had it that every now and then an angel of the Lord would stir the waters of the pool, and whoever was able to get into the pool first was to be healed completely. Thus, many of those who needed healing sat around it and waited for the angel to stir the waters. Our man had been sitting there for thirty-eight years. Thirty-eight! That’s roughly fourteen thousand days, just staring at the pool, waiting for it to stir and THEN finding someone to lift him into it. It was his last hope, his one gigantic if only.

When Jesus approached, his question was simple, “do you want to be well?” And because the man was so fixated on hisif only, he didn’t recognize who was before Him, the healer that everyone was talking about, the same man that had turned water into wine at Cana, the one who had just healed the official’s son at Caper’na-um. Instead of answering with a “yes”, the man explains his predicament, “I have no one to put me into the pool, when the water is stirred up. If only.”

Jesus isn’t bothered by our predicament. He’s not hesitating because of our imperfection or our past sin. He’s not bound by if onlys. Jesus holds the power to heal, to forgive, to restore. This Lent, He approaches us with mercy. Do you really want to be well? Are you ready for a change? Stop getting hung up on your predicament and receive the healing that Jesus is offering. Reply yes.

For almost two decades Ennie Hickman has sought to share the love of God with churched and unchurched people across the country and abroad. His work ranges from stages in front of thousands of people to weekly backyard dinners with his neighbors. Ennie, his wife Cana, and their seven children are domestic missionaries in Houston, TX with Adore Ministries.


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