Can You Answer One Question?

The message for ladies struggling with drug and alcohol addiction rested quietly in my notebook. My outline on grace was simple – one I thought would resonate with ladies who humbly admitted their unhealthy choices. I prayed that my newfound passion would be evident, and that it would entice others to want the Jesus I had finally found. I asked the Holy Spirit to lead the way.

For the past few months, I had tried to dissect my Jesus-is-enough journey so that I might breadcrumb a path for others. Bookshelves at my house overflow with books from authors who have tried to do the same thing. All of them talk about accepting grace for ourselves and others, the Holy Spirit’s power, our need to realize the love God has for us, taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Jesus, putting the past behind us once and for all, improving our self-talk, thinking positively, forgiveness, etc., etc., etc.

The pandemic pressed the pause button on our time at the rehab center. No longer could our little tribe of “church ladies” receive the blessing of witnessing their transformation from fearful to faithful. Hidden were our stark, once-a-month reminders of God’s redeeming love. We sorely missed experiencing the Holy Spirit as He moved powerfully through that room. Then finally, with the coming of May, restrictions were lifted, the play button was pressed, and we were in fast-forward mode. 

However! The day before I was to share my message on grace, the Holy Spirit said, “Not so fast!” He kept leading me back to one of my favorite familiar stories in the gospel of John. I read it and reread it until I saw what He wanted me to share. I believe He wants me to share it with you as well.

You most likely know the story. A paralyzed man is sitting inside the city of Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate next to a pool that supposedly possesses healing powers. He’s been an invalid for 38 years. Perhaps, for as many years, friends have taken him to the pool and left him there for the day. His only job is to wait for the “healing” waters to stir and then be the first one into the pool to receive healing. There are many other sick people wanting the same thing. Of course, it’s hard for a paralyzed man to move quickly, so he never makes it. Someone else always gets there first. Yet, he sits there day after day.

Jesus shows up on the scene and singles out this man. He doesn’t begin with a process for healing; He begins with a single question. It’s the question that I and all those authors on my shelf seemed to skip past. It’s a question that captivated the attention of the ladies in rehab. To them, to the paralyzed man, to you, and to me, Jesus is asking one simple question: “Do you want to get well?” 

There were ladies in the rehab center who were only there because someone else wanted them there. Parents. Children. Husbands. Boyfriends. Their goal was not to get to the root of their issues and find healing for their addiction; their goal was to pacify the people they love. 

It takes great courage and faith to believe God can heal you from something that’s been with you for years. It’s so much easier to just sit on the sidelines than to muster the energy to actually move. The sidelines keep us out of the spotlight of expectation. If we hide behind our sickness or weakness, then nothing is expected of us. We find comfort sitting right where we’ve always been. We may ask ourselves, “If I get well, what will I have to change? If I get stronger, what will I be asked to do?” A better question might be, “If I stay just like I am, what will I miss?”

As far as we know, the paralyzed man never answered the question out loud. He immediately blamed his lack of healing on those who got in his way or on those who never offered to help him into the pool. Some of us might be guilty of the same thing. It’s so much easier to blame our circumstances and/or the people who’ve hurt us rather than courageously entering into the healing process. It’s easier to complain than to do. Counselors may offer us wise counseling, but until we want to get well we’ll never take the first step.

I can’t help but believe that the paralyzed man saw in the eyes of Jesus a glimmer of himself totally healed. There’s something about the presence of Jesus that changes the way we see ourselves.  Can you see yourself as healed from pride, worry, doubt, depression, anger, bitterness, or any other thing you might be addicted to? (Yes, we’re all addicted to something.) Can you picture yourself as abundantly joyful, totally content, and enormously thankful? 

Jesus told the paralyzed man to do only three things: Get up, pick up your mat, and walk. When we become serious about following Jesus we will confidently take that first step and jump to our feet. We’ll put away our old comforts, habits, and hurts. Then, we will run to tell others what Jesus has done for us. We can’t make someone else want to be healed, but we can show them what healed looks like!

Do you want to get well?

“A short time later, Jesus found the man at the temple and said to him, ‘Look at you now! You’re healed! Walk away from your sin so that nothing worse will happen to you.’ Then the man went to the Jewish leaders to inform them, ‘It was Jesus who healed me!’” (John 5:14-15, TPT)

Posted in
a poster saying “Can You Answer One Question?”

My God Story – Ella Van Deusen

By Donna Jackson | June 21, 2022 |

I’ve waited weeks now to introduce you to my sweet friend Ella Van Deusen! We first met when I began to serve the elementary aged children in our church. At the age of ten, Ella’s understanding of God and His Word made leading her small group a huge blessing. I’ve watched her grow into an…

One of the Good Ones

By Donna Jackson | June 14, 2022 |

You may call me shameless, and that’s okay.  However, I have someone who deserves a pat on the back. Some royal treatment. A great big “attaboy”. I’m sure you have a “someone” in your life who deserves the same. Even the apostle Paul told the Romans they should give honor to those to whom it is…

Weary and Discouraged

By Donna Jackson | June 7, 2022

As the iconic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” opens, we meet George Bailey, a banker who soon finds himself trapped under a boulder of challenging circumstances. Even though he has a wife, children, extended family, and friends who love him and would gladly help, he still feels trapped. At his lowest point, he feels like…

Your Story

By Donna Jackson | May 17, 2022

Have you ever wondered how your life’s story would read if it were part of the Bible? Would it be complicated or comical? Melodramatic or monotonous? Apathetic or adventurous? Heartbreaking or heroic? I wonder what Moses thought of the whole Exodus story. His exploits were definitely legendary – the stuff blockbusters are made of –…

I Don’t Want To

By Donna Jackson | May 10, 2022

For several years, our small tribe of women met for Bible study with female inmates in our local jail. They shared their stories of abuse, drugs, tragedy, and great sorrow. We did our best to point them to Jesus, the only One who could heal their hurt and help them find lasting peace. Since we…

No Time to Play Games

By Donna Jackson | May 3, 2022

Last Monday rubbed my patience about as raw as sushi. And I hate sushi. Everything I tried to do went sideways. In my mind, I imagined flinging my computer across the room so it would feel the same amount of grief it had caused me. Every click of the cursor apparently filled the hard drive…

A Life That Matters

By Donna Jackson | April 19, 2022

The motley tribe of seven disciples sat quietly beside the sea trying to understand the most recent swirl of events. Their time spent as Jesus’ close companions had given them direction and a purpose. But now, everything was changing so quickly. Their teacher, friend, and Messiah had been tortured, humiliated, and killed by Roman soldiers.…

You May Argue, But …

By Donna Jackson | April 12, 2022

Whenever my brain waves begin to lay flat and my mind becomes exhausted from a day of writing, I grab a glass of tea and the TV remote. I depend on Joanna Gaines and Giada DeLaurnetiis to give my mind a break. They offer the inspiration I need to fill a skillet or two for…

What Do You Want for the Children in Your Life?

By Donna Jackson | April 10, 2022

What do you want for the children in your life? That was the question I posed this week to a room full of courageous ladies in drug rehab. Answers flew back: “Happiness”, “Peace”, “Strength”, “A relationship with God”. In a previous Bible study, they had asked for a message on parenting. My wheels immediately began…

Why Travel Perfection Road?

By Donna Jackson | April 5, 2022

On the outside my grandmother Josephine looked like any other grandmother. She wore glasses, gray hair, and her share of wrinkles and spots. But on the inside pumped the heart of a playful little girl. We cut paper dolls out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog, sang at her piano, and turned brand-new pointed Crayola…