I celebrated my 38th birthday a few months ago. A certain Bible story captured my attention because it features the number “38” – it’s the story of a man who was sick for 38 years…
The Bible doesn’t give the guy’s name, so I’m gonna call him “Phelps.”
Phelps tried everything he could to get better. He spent his days hanging out by the pool of Bethesda – a place some believed to have “healing powers.” According to the legend, angels would occasionally stir up the water of the pool. If you were the first one to jump in while the angels were doing their thing, bam! You would be healed.
So, Phelps is there by the pool – waiting for the whole angel-hot tub-healing thing. Only problem: Phelps isn’t having any success with this method either. Because of his sickness, he needs help getting into the pool. Other people keep jumping in before him.
38 years of trying – and Phelps has nothing to show for it. He’s been sick for a long time. No change. No results. Same old story…
And then grace shows up. Jesus comes by one day, sees Phelps by the pool and asks him, “Would you like to get well?”
Phelps starts in with the explanation of why he can’t get healed: “I can’t sir – I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone always gets there ahead of me.”
Jesus doesn’t react to Phelps’ superstition / messed-up theology. Instead, He gives grace – a wonderful, unexpected and totally undeserved gift of God’s favor to Phelps. He says, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk!”
Instantly, Phelps was healed. (John 5.1-9)
Incredible! Grace shows up and destroys 38 years of trying.
That’s what grace does – it accomplishes the very thing we’ve been trying to do (unsuccessfully) for years.
Grace alters the course of our lives. It changes our destinies. It rewrites our stories.
Maybe you’ve been “trying” for years and years…
The way I see it, you have two options:
Keep on trying (and get the same results you’ve been getting).
Quit trying, and let grace change everything!
I’m 38 years old – and I’m done trying, working, striving, straining, freakin and stressing.
Grace showed up and has completely destroyed my 38 years of trying… accomplishing what I never could.