“A man was lying there who had been sick for thirty-eight years.”
That was a long time to be sick. It’s tough to be an invalid year after year. This passage may come to some who have been thus afflicted, and we may as well stop a minute to think through their case. Christian invalids have many comforts if they will but take them to their hearts.
God makes no mistakes in dealing with His children.
He knows in what school they will learn the best lessons, and in what experiences they will grow up.
It is the same in spiritual life. We have no power in ourselves to do Christ’s will, but as we begin to obey the needed grace is given. Young people often say that they are afraid to enter into a Christian life because they can not do what will be required. In their own strength, they cannot. Plain and simple.
Human strength in itself is inadequate for life’s sore needs. But the young Christian who sets out in obedience to Christ, depending upon Him to open the path of duty, will never fail of needed help at the moment of need.
Richard Baxter gives us his take on this passage :
“How great mercy it was to live thirty-eight years under God’s wholesome discipline! O my God, I thank Thee for the like discipline of fifty-eight years; how safe life is this in comparison with full prosperity and pleasure!”
Sick-rooms should always be sacred places for believers, as we remember that God has summoned us there for some special work upon our souls. We must be very careful lest we miss the good He wants us to receive.
It’s only those who trust Christ and lie upon His bosom that is blessed by sickness.
“Too many invalids grow discontented, unhappy, sour, and fretful. Sickness oftentimes fails to do good to those who suffer. There are few experiences in which we so much need to be watchful over ourselves and prayerful toward God. Be sure to keep the sickness out of your heart, and keep Christ there with His love and peace.”