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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Do You Truly Want To Be Well?

Ellen White: Jesus at the Bethesda Pool
According to John's gospel Jesus once asked someone lying next to Jerusalem's healing pool, "Do you want to be made whole?"

The answer seems obvious, but maybe it isn't always. I had a counseling prof, in jest, telling about a client who pledged to keep coming for therapy as long as he promised not to make him well!

Sometimes compensations set in when we are the victim of an illness or accident. Along with our desire for wholeness there can also come some ambivalence about a loss of attention or specialness that may go with being a victim. Certain responsibilities that go with wellness may feel overwhelming, and get in the way of our desire for healing.

Jesus engages the ill man's will with, "Do you want to be well?" then tells him "Take up his bed and walk." He is saying that while healing always involves some kind of miracle, it is not a matter of mere magic. Both faith and action on our part may be called for.

In other words, if we truly want to be well we will need to practice doing more of what well people do and less of what ill people do, as follows.

1. Well people avoid seeing themselves as victims, and cultivate a spirit of gratitude to God and others rather than nursing grievances.

2. Well people are intentional about expanding their circle of good relationships (as in a supportive faith community) rather than isolating themselves from others.

3. Well people are generous in sharing what they have with others rather than hoarding more for themselves.

4. Well people engage in plenty of good physical activity rather than living sedentary lives.

5. Well people operate on the basis of their faith rather than their worst-case fears.

6. Well people treat their bodies and minds as gifts to be given the best possible care.

7. Well people have a sense of mission and purpose that goes beyond their immediate personal interests, but which they also know is in their (and others') best interests. 

Wellness is a priceless, but nevertheless costly, gift to be treasured for a lifetime.
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