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Wants vs. Wishes

( [email protected] ) Mar 11, 2009 11:22 AM EDT

"Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"1

A Daily Encounter reader writes, "After many years of counseling and prayer for help, my brother who has been a Christian for many years can't seem to let go of his emotional problems and failures. Is there anything I can say to help him forgive himself? What might be holding him back from finding healing and freedom?"

There may be any of a number of reasons why this man seems to be "stuck" in his situation. One may be that deep down he doesn't want to get well.

According to reports I have read from both a Christian and a secular source, of all the people who go to a counselor or physician saying they want help approximately 25 percent actually don't want to get well. Some of these people like to feel sorry for themselves and get some kind of satisfaction from seeking sympathy. A further 50 percent expect the counselor or physician to heal them. Only 25 percent actually take responsibility for doing what they need to do in order to get well. One physician said that some patients would rather he operate on their body than they operate on or change their lifestyle!

Many of us say that we want to lose weight, too, but do little or nothing about it. What we do is confuse a wish for a want. It's one thing to wish for something, it's another thing to want it.

As Jesus said to the sick person, "Do you want to be made well/whole?"

To be made well/whole, I need to be committed to being made well/whole and accept responsibility for doing whatever I need to do in order to get well. I can pray forever about losing weight but if I don't watch my diet and get sufficient exercise, it's not going to happen. And if I cling to my grudges and refuse to forgive all who have hurt me, I won't get well either.

True, some ills and miserable circumstances are beyond our control but there are many that we can do something about ourselves. Yes, pray for wisdom to know what to do, for truth to see what we need to do, for courage to do it, and for God to lead us to the help we need to overcome. When we do our part, we can be sure that God will do his.

The bottom line is do we truly want to be made well/whole—or do we just wish for it?

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to accept responsibility in every adverse situation that comes my way. Besides trusting in you, help me to see what I can and need to do to make healing and wholeness possible. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. John 5:5-6 (NKJV).

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