Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’
Friend to Friend
I opened my eyes and came face-to-face with darkness, a very familiar foe. I immediately knew it was going to be one of “those” days. I have struggled with clinical depression for many years and am well acquainted with its ugliness.
A heavy blanket of darkness seems to be weighing me down.
Each step is like trying to walk through quicksand.
Joy and laughter are buried under layers of gripping pain.
The smallest tasks seem like huge mountains to climb.
I don’t want to do anything or see anyone.
I know better. God’s promises have not changed nor has His faithfulness abandoned me. He is with me. He never promised I would have no pits in this life, but He did and does continually promise that I won’t have to endure them alone. Like a parent soothing his suffering child, Jesus whispers to my weary heart that everything really is going to be alright. I cling to His promise and the hope it brings.
But today I feel like a royal mess.
Did you know that a mess is the perfect setting for a miracle – if we are willing to be honest? Sometimes it is a lot easier to just stay in the darkness rather than struggle toward the light. Not everyone really wants to be healed or rescued. Their infirmity has become their identity, or their crisis now defines who they are and forms the familiar parameters of their life. Take the man at the pool of Bethesda for example.
The pool of Bethesda was the gathering place for anyone in need of healing. People believed that the first person in the pool after the water moved would be healed from whatever disease or illness they had. Since the pool was fed by springs, it is safe to assume that the water was stirred fairly often. Jesus saw the man lying there and asked what some might consider an unusual question, “Do you want to get well?”
The man had been an invalid, unable to walk or stand, for thirty-eight years. I think the question was a valid one. Was the man comfortable in his pain? Was he willing to pay the price that healing requires? Jesus wanted to know.
“I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred,” the man replied. “While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” That was all Jesus needed to hear. “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” The man was immediately healed. There were many people at the pool that day, but Jesus healed only one of them – the man who was honest about his pain and willing to believe God in the hard times.
So many friends and family members have prayed that I would be delivered from this pit of darkness. I have come before God in total transparency and honesty, making sure that I am not clinging to some cherished sin. I have done everything I know to do.
And still the darkness remains.
Some days … some weeks and even months are much better than others. God has taught me that the depression keeps me desperate for Him … and for that reason alone it can be counted as a blessing. I am indeed living the life I never knew I wanted.
My name is Mary. It literally means “bitter, but when broken, sweet.” And in my brokenness, I find healing. Do I want to be healed? Yes! And I am.
Lord, it seems as if my world has collapsed, hurling me into another deep, dark pit. I come to You in complete surrender. I am desperate for You, helpless and afraid. But today, I choose to trust You, even in the darkness, knowing that Your healing for my life is on the way.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
My book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, is my story of desperation, brokenness and restoration. It is also the story of God’s power to help you overcome depression in your own life. Do you need to know how to help someone who is struggling with depression? This book offers practical ways you can help someone you love deal with depression. Check it out.