Rise Up and Walk

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”—John 5:8

If you’re anything like me, getting up in the morning can be a challenge. Maybe you sleep hard, and it takes the banging of metal trash can lids to get you going. Or maybe you—like me—struggle with insomnia. But most of us are able to get up out of bed on our own. What if you couldn’t?

Try to imagine being unable to walk for 38 years. You do the only thing you know to do, and that is to camp out someplace where you hope someone will help you. But day after day, year after year, no one does. Then one day, along comes this man Jesus, who asks you if you really want to be made well. Of course you do, but you don’t see how it’s even possible. And then Jesus says something you never expected anyone to say: “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”

The man might have wondered, “Does He really understand my situation?” (Of course He did.) Or “Does He understand just how broken I am?” (And again, of course He did.) 

But the man didn’t argue. Instead, something miraculous happened: The man immediately arose, took up his bed and walked. The God who spoke the universe into existence had spoken instant healing into the body of a man He had knit together in his mother’s womb. 

The man’s life went through an immediate paradigm shift. He had been an invalid for 38 years. He would have had no career, no income outside of what he gleaned from begging. And suddenly here he is fully healed, a middle-aged man starting his life out from scratch. He lacked skills. He lacked a vocation. He might have lacked a home of his own. Yet he got up and walked.

Maybe you’ve been knocked off your feet by failed relationships, sickness, financial struggles, job insecurity, or your own shortcomings. Jesus has the same message for you that He had for the lame man: It’s time for you to rise, take up your bed—that constant reminder of your impediment—and walk.

Your circumstances can’t defeat or define you when the God of all the universe equips and empowers you. Like this man, you may not know what you’re walking into. The future for many of us is uncertain. But He is El Roi, the God who sees, and He has prepared the path before you. You may not know the way, but He does because He is the way. Follow Him one step at a time, just as the lame man took his first step of obedience and found himself in a life-changing future. 

What is the first step you’ll take? Where do you hope it will lead you? My hope is it will lead you on a path of the full and abundant life God desires you have.