Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Avoiding Agitation?

Jesus Heals the Lame Man at the Pool of Bethesda
John 5:1-9
“After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2  Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3  In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4  For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5  And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6  When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8  Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.”
“Troubled” – translated in Greek:  G5015
̄, tar-as'-so
Of uncertain affinity; to stir or agitate (roil water):—trouble

The man at the pool of Bethesda is a story I hadn’t read for a long time, until God brought it to my attention yesterday while talking to a friend of mine.  The words that God gave me through that conversation were potent… even for me and my own life!  We were talking about emotions being stirred up as life gets complicated.  That is when God reminded me of the waters being “stirred up” or as the Greek translates it “troubled”. 
When I study a passage of scripture, I like to take key words and check their meanings in the Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Dictionary, through the Exhaustive Concordance… a lot of words to say, I look it up in the Bible Dictionary. 
I looked up the word ‘troubled’ and found it to mean to stir or agitate.  I thought of my washing machine and the agitator in the middle that stirs the clothes and the water to knock out stains and dirt, and wash my clothes.  I laughed at the idea that God made a Laundry-mat for the body and soul, but in essence, He did!
In the story of the lame man that Jesus healed at Bethesda, the pools were agitated by angels and when the first people got in, they were cleansed and healed!  Simple enough, when the water moves, GET IN!!!
But then God began to speak to me about me. 
This is what He said to me last night.  “Mary, you are sometimes quick to label things as problems that need to be fixed.  When the circumstances are agitated, stop to see why.  See, sometimes you’re quick to resist the agitated circumstances because they look intimidating.  BUT, in the end, I agitated them so you could be cleansed and healed!  Don’t be quick to dismiss agitation as something to avoid.”
The longer I pondered this revelation, the more I began to understand what it meant.  We often hear about refining fire and are looking for the next set of flames to jump into.  However, how could we ever handle the flames of refinement if we can’t even handle some agitation?
I know conflict is uncomfortable.  But, Paul says in the Bible, "But  even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict."  (1 Thess. 2:2 NKJV)  Paul was not being treated well and there was conflict.  Most of us have not been beaten, emprisoned or had our lives threatened for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  However, Paul made it clear that there was conflict, and that it is possible to be bold and confident that God is still in control, despite conflict.
My challenge this week is very simple.  When you face the agitation of your life, circumstances, or even your emotions, do as the Bible instructs in Psalms 46:10, which says “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  No matter what you are facing, you can know that God is in control and is working all things for your good (Rom. 8:28).  He loves you so much!
Have a blessed week as you seek His Kingdom and righteousness!