As Jesus approached a paralyzed man lying near the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, He asked an unusual question: “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6). The answer seems obvious. People with physical ailments gathered at that pool specifically because they believed in its healing powers. But Jesus wanted to gauge the man’s willingness and readiness to receive the gift He was about to bestow.
The prophet Jeremiah offered the following plea: “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved” (Jeremiah 17:14). I read this as not only a declaration of confidence in God’s ability to heal but also an affirmation of Jeremiah’s willingness to accept the gift.
God told the prophet Isaiah that many people would not be willing to hear him and be healed. (See Isaiah 6:10, 2 Nephi 16:10, Matthew 13:14-15.) And two Book of Mormon prophets pointed out that, when Moses raised up the brass serpent and told people to look up and be healed, many people refused to do so. (See Numbers 21:6-9, 1 Nephi 17:41, Alma 33:19-20.)
At the end of Jesus’ life, He lamented the unwillingness of the people to receive His healing power:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!Matthew 23:27
Shortly after His death, He repeated this lament to the survivors of a set of natural disasters on the American continent, adding the following promise: “How oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart” (3 Nephi 10:6).
Jesus is willing to heal us. Are we willing to be healed? What if He heals us in a different way than we expected? What if the healing requires us to give something up? What if it requires us to change our habits or our paradigms?
Today, I will follow the example of Jeremiah. I will plead for God’s healing power, and I will be open to the healing that He provides.
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I am blessed beyond measure by the teachings from His word.
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