Without a Wound? [True Ministry]

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The subject of “the pool at Bethesda” alludes to the following excerpt from the Thorton Wilder play, “The Angel that Troubled the Waters”.The play is based on the biblical verses of John 5:1-4, but it changes the end of the parable. I first encountered this excerpt within the book “Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging“, by Brennan Manning.

The play tells of a physician who comes periodically to the pool of Bethesda, hoping to be the first in the water and healed of his melancholy when the angel appears and troubles the water. Everybody at the pool also hopes to be the first in the water and thereby healed of his malady.

An angel appears and blocks the physician at the moment he is ready to step into the pool and be healed.

Angel: “Draw back, physician, this moment is not for you.”angel1

Physician: “Angelic visitor, I pray thee, listen to my prayer.

Angel: “This healing is not for you.”

Physician: “Surely, surely, the angels are wise. Surely, O Prince, you are not deceived by my apparent wholeness. Your eyes can see the nets in which my wings are caught; the sin into which all my endeavors sink half-performed cannot be concealed from you.”

Angel: “I know.”

……………Interlude………………

Physician: “Oh, in such an hour was I born, and doubly fearful to me is the flaw in my heart. Must I drag my shame, Prince and Singer, all my days more bowed than my neighbor?”

Angel: Without your wound where would your power be? It is your very sadness that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve. Draw back.”

Later, the person who enters the pool first and was healed rejoices in his good fortune then turns to the physician before leaving and said:

“But come with me first, an hour only, to my home. My son is lost in dark thoughts. I — I do not understand him, and only you have ever lifted his mood. Only an hour . . . my daughter, since her child has died, sits in the shadow. She will not listen to us but she will listen to you.”

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For me, this story has made an incredible difference and, because the message of this excerpt—“Without your wound where would your power be?“—carries so much meaning for me. As this has taught me that its through my weakness I can see others like Jesus does.  I believe, for me, it is slowly becoming my whole foundation for ministry.

&

ybic, Bryan

 

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About Pastor Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, epilepsy, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alaska.
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5 Responses to Without a Wound? [True Ministry]

  1. Kevin Riddle says:

    As a broken believer myself, I struggle with schizoaffective disorder. I have found that the very thing that “disables” me is also one of the greatest blessings of my life, because I have learned to rely on God so much more than I may ever have if life had gone otherwise. I understand how His grace is sufficient for me and all the weak and broken who maintain our faith and still follow Him, whether we limp or crawl.

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  2. Bryan, I love this post. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it, and it brings tears to my eyes every time (which is actually a good thing). Tomorrow I am meeting with a couple of new friends about my involvement in a local ministry called “Shattering Stigma: Mental Health and the Church.” I’ve been to one of their conferences and will be talking with them about sharing my story at a future conference. I went to Broken Believers this morning to search for this very post so that I could share it with them because I want to read it as part of my talk at the Shattering Stigma conference. Imagine my surprise to find you had reposted it today! Although, truly I’m not surprised because God’s hand was in it, I’m sure. Blessings to you. Linda

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  3. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much, Pastor B. This is just perfect . Not easy, but perfect. God bless you!

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  4. tannngl says:

    Reblogged this on tannngl and commented:
    You always provide rich insight.
    God bless and multiply your ministry.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    amen amen amen!! we are broken, beloved and powerful in that very brokenness which we once were afraid to tell! God’s great grace leads and heals in ways that we’ll never fully understand until we can see from eternity! Thank you for the great post!

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