One of my favorite scriptures is the story in John 5 of the man at the pool. So here’s the story in a nutshell. There was a pool near the sheep gate in Jerusalem where many disabled people went. They were there because they believed that when the water was stirred, that the first person in would be healed. Now there was a man (an invalid) who had been there 38 years. Then Jesus shows up and learned his story. Jesus then asks the man, “Do you want to get well?”
Now this seems like a very odd question. I mean here is a guy who has been sitting by this pool (where people come hoping to get well) for 38 years. I mean obviously he wants to get well right? But maybe Jesus is on to something here. Jesus realizes that maybe this guy has become comfortable. Maybe, even though originally he wanted to walk, now he had lived this particular way for a long, long time. Walking would change everything in this man’s life. Everything. Jesus wants to make sure, “Do you still want that?”
The man’s response is classic. Here is Jesus with all the ability to help him and he says essentially, “Hey yeah – I need to get into the water – could you help me do that?” In other words, “Hey Jesus, help me heal my way” He had become focussed on getting in the water, even to the point of missing out on being healed. The means had become the end.
This has so many implications there’s not possibly room here to discuss them all.
We are all wounded and we are all seeking to get well. Most of all we all have things that we think will heal us, and often we end up asking for those instead of healing in any form Jesus wants.
One of the big traps we as singles can fall into is the idea that if I get married it will heal me (make life ok, fix my sexual problems, solve my loneliness, bring me happiness, fill my heart, etc). I know for me there have been plenty of times where I feel like if Jesus would have asked me, “Do you want to get well?” I might as well have answered, “Yes, I want to get married.” But marriage is not the answer to any of those type of questions. The questions that marriage answers are “Who will I marry?” or “Will I get married?” It doesn’t answer the big questions. Only God can really do that. And if I’m looking for marriage to do that I will screw up my search for someone to marry and/or I will have a really hard marriage.
However, as you stay single longer, there is another very real question here. “Do you want to get married?” You might say, “Jesus, seriously, I’ve been trying to do that for 20 years. I mean I’ve been on good dates, bad dates, blind dates. I’ve been on every dating site and been set up by everyone in my life.” To which I think Jesus would still be smart to ask, “Yeah but do you want to get married?”
It’s a fair question. After all if you are in your 30s or older, you’ve lived a certain way a long time, and marriage, changes everything. The question is “Do you still want that?” or maybe a better way of asking it, “Do you want that change now?”
I think it is extremely important that we ask this question because the answer changes things.
If your answer is no, you need to ask why. There are some bad reasons. For example, are you just being selfish or are you just really scared that after living a certain way that you won’t be able to do it. It is legitimately scary, but that’s not a reason to say no. But if the answer is no and you feel like Jesus agrees with that answer (it might be good to ask Jesus, “Do you want me to get married?”) then you’re going to need a new approach. For one, quit dating.
But if the answer is yes, then you might need to change your approach as well. You are going to need to be prepared for the fact that Jesus might actually give you what you want, in a way that you didn’t think of. You need to be able to say, “Jesus I do and I will do it however, and with whoever you want me too.”
So, first, do you want to get well? What is the “pool” you are counting on? Is it marriage? Second question, “Do you want to get married?” And are you willing to do that any way Jesus wants?