“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 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. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?'”
Today marks the anniversary of the diving accident. Years ago when I reached my 38th year of living in a wheelchair, my sister, Jay, called on the phone to read today’s scripture to me: “Joni, you’ve been paralyzed for as many years as the man by the Pool of Bethesda! Isn’t that amazing?” It gave me goosebumps! Later in the day, I showed the passage to a friend. As I read John 5:1-6 aloud, I got a lump in my throat when I read the words, “When Jesus… learned he had been in this condition for a long time….” I paused while tears of amazement and wonder filled my eyes. I looked up from the Bible and said, “Thirty-eight years in this wheelchair is a long time. And it touches me that Jesus thinks thirty-eight years of paralysis is a long time, too. He understands!”
The Lord Jesus understands the weight of every burden you quietly bear. Nothing escapes His notice, for He empathizes with our weaknesses and, in fact, understands them better than we ever will! Hebrews 4:15 assures us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.”
God of all comfort, keep me from complaining if my burden seems heavy. Help me to follow in Your footsteps and endure every weakness without the sin of resentment or complaint.
Joni and Friends