"Do You Want to Be Healed?"

A week or so ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Dan Phillips of Pyromaniacs re-posted a probing entry he'd written on the question Jesus asked the cripple in John 5:6: "Do you want to be healed?" Dan raised the rhetorical question as to whether Jesus was asking a dumb question, or whether He was probing for something deeper. For 38 years, the disabled man was lying by the pool of Bethesda, waiting for someone to take the initiative and lead him into the waters.

Phillips draws an accurate spiritual parallel, and admits to having wanted to ask the same question many times of those is spiritual binds.

"Do you (really) want to become well?"

He writes:

Much as you and I might recoil from another's state in life, that person might not share our revulsion.

One can grow to identify with a condition, to find meaning and individuality and significance in something that of itself offers nothing desirable whatever. Whether it be a natural handicap or a totally different weakness, failing, misery, affliction or sin, we can come to think of ourselves as Noble Sufferers, as Tragic Victims, as Tormented Souls. So (pathetically and unhealthily) rewarding is this identification, that we unknowingly have no real desire to be parted from our badge of uniqueness, our gimmick, our shtick.

Now, let's think about this question in terms of addictions. Clearly, the addictive agent supplies some momentary comfort; it provides some sort of fleeting "reward" that we cannot get any other way. That's why we keep coming back to it. For us, our drug of choice is food. I always write in the first person plural when talking about eating disordered thought and behavior, despite having been fully recovered for nearly six years, because I write from deep and exhaustive experience. Without a major over-hauling, mind-renewal forged during months of steadfast and gut-wrenching repentance, I would still be flirting with the question: "Do I (really) want to be healed?"

Do we? Do we want to be healed if it means no longer having the option of stuffing ourselves with every high-carb, fat-loaded piece of junk under the sun, with little or no provocation? Do we really want to learn discipline in our eating habits, while surrendering meticulous control over our weight? Do we really want to be free of this love-hate relationship, this deadly yet seductive secret we know we can always indulge in, knowing that once the "crutch" is gone, we will have to actually face our real feelings and deal with them biblically? Are we willing to renounce the idols that have taken root in our hearts - ultimate thinness; food; alcohol; even the fleeting comfort of the ED itself?

Freedom is well worth it, but from the other side of the addiction we cannot see that. If we keep our eyes on God, however, He reveals the truth to us: we can be healed. As I have often said before, bulimia is a spiritual disease masquerading as a physical one. While God does not always heal physical infirmities in this lifetime, it is always His will and pleasure to set captives free from the bondage of sin.

The question is, do we really want Him to, or have we grown so comfortable in our "pet" sin that the pain of change seems more threatening than the pain of staying where we are? I once heard a pastor say that often, when people would come to him for counseling, it quickly became apparent that they didn't really want help - they just wanted someone to feel sorry for them. I discovered in counseling that this is often true. It is not unusual to pour yourself out into counseling, exhorting and biblically encouraging an eating-disordered client, with no change in her behavior - just rationalizations ("I'd change if my husband were more supportive") and self-pitying rhetoric ("It's just the way I am...I'll never change....the devil has his claws into me deep....what's it going to take?") And yet, I've been able to tell with a fairly high degree of accuracy when there is no real repentance (hatred of the sin - in this case, the eating disorder) - but rather simply a two-pronged fear of A) getting caught and B) giving up the behavior and gaining weight.

Christ can free us of all that anxiety, obsession and fear if we only just decide to lay it down, once and for all. When you slip up, don't give up - just pick up where you left off and determine once again to walk away from this destructive lifestyle. He instantly forgives and imparts strength through the Holy Spirit when you seek Him - resulting in your ultimate healing. And it is a COMPLETE healing - relapses simply do not happen once you have repented and been restored.

The question He poses to you today is the same one He asked the paraplegic: "Do you want to be healed?" Are you ready to take the first step? He has made a way out and stands patiently waiting for you to run into His arms.


  1. Beautiful and inspiring. One of the crucial questions for everyone. Sometimes the demons lead us so deep in our sickness and misery that many don't even want to be happy and healthy again in our inertia...

  2. I am sitting here with the smell of volmit on my fingers, and praying to Christ the truth of repentance. I am serious now about my healing, after reading this, I'm throwing down the lies and I'm going to face the pain of the causes of this spiritually and stop. Thank you, and the Lord bless you more than you know.

  3. Dear anon,

    I praise God that He is opening your spiritual eyes to the truth of His Word and the beauty and reality of His love. Repentance is a gift to be embraced....see my 3-part series here on repentance.

    Please e-mail me anytime for counsel, encouragement or prayer - marie4thtimemom@yahoo.com.

    I've been exactly where you are, dear.

    Praying for you!


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