A friend of mine lost his wife years ago after a long sickness. He told me that he visited her grave every single day for a year. No matter the storms, sun or snow, he was there.
He said, “Do you know when I knew I had to stop going so often? When I looked down and saw that grass had grown over her grave, but the ground was bare in the place where I stood every day. I was not letting the grass grow over the bare place in my heart either. So, I started going less, and I started healing more.” When you have given something enough time, give it no more. When the healing comes, we feel guilty sometimes about moving forward, as though to take a step is to belittle the importance of what was lost or to disrespect the memory of what once was. We may never be fully free of the grief here on earth, but we can experience a healing that allows us to navigate the “new normal.” There is nothing wrong with thinking through what led you to a place, learning from past mistakes or having regrets, but careful examination can become morbid fascination. When that happens, the autopsy never ends.
When I think of healing and the strange inertia of pain, I remember the story of the man who could not walk…
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6). The man had been unable to walk for 38 years (John 5:5). It might seem strange that Jesus would ask him such a thing. But if you have slipped down the slope toward learned helplessness and into the deep valley of self-pity, you understand the question.
Jesus then tells him to “get up,” and the man is healed (5:8). Make no mistake, Jesus did heal the invalid, but the man had to obey Christ to know the full effect of the healing.
In other words, he could have been healed, yet never stood up.
Do you want to be healed?