This morning at breakfast Christie and I were talking with the kids about the man healed near the Bethesda pool in John 5. The man had been disabled for 38 years and desired to get into the pool when an angel stirred the water and be healed. But, he never made it in. Jesus heals him instantly.
Discussing the power of God (and thinking about Jesus’ question in Mark 10) I ask my kids “What would you say if Jesus asked you what you want?” I thought it was a good question just to stimulate conversation about God’s power and get to what is in my kids’ hearts.
Elliott (age 5) jumped in first: “I’d ask to be invisible!” and went on chattering about getting bad guys.
Next I asked Theo (7) and being the thoughtful and rather private guy that he is he deflected with an “I don’t know.”
Then it hit me. My daughter Lily (5) has a lot of health issues. My boys are extremely healthy and anything they would ask of Jesus would be from that place of relative contentment.
I was then interrupted by my youngest, Caspian, wanting to be asked the question. So, I asked him what he would want from Jesus. He said: “Jesus love Elliott, Theo and Lily.” What a sweet response, even if as a 22 month old, he doesn’t know much he does know that he wants Jesus to love his siblings. I was touched.
But then the rounds came back to Lily. What would she say? I want to be able to speak normally? I want to be able to hear like everyone else? I want to be strong, fast and healthy like my brothers? I want my intestines to work properly so I don’t have to take all these medications? There is a long list not to mention the emotional trauma that she endured before we adopted her three years ago.
As I write this, tears roll down my cheeks as I grieve for what that little girl has gone through and what she is still going through.
After some brief consideration she finally responded. “I want Jesus to be kind to me.”
I assured her that he is.
What a response! We all live in a place that is dependent on the kindness and the mercy of God and that is the most important thing in all the world that we can ask for.
When we are living in the kindness of God we don’t have to worry about anything. Trouble comes.
Hardship is here every day. We all have emotional pain that we carry around with us and many have physical pain as well. But if we truly believe that God is kind we know that he is for us and desires eternal good for us rather than temporary good.
Whatever you’re facing – if you’re like Lily with a mountain of physical and emotional trials or just have the average helping that most people get – you can depend on the kindness of God. That doesn’t mean that he will heal us instantly like he chose to do for the man at Bethesda (though he may, he has the power to) but it does mean that he desires to be the father that we need.
Romans 2:4 (CSB)
Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
The Gospel says that God desires us and paid the ultimate price not so that we could have anything and everything that we ever want but so that we… would be his.