Dose of Truth

Embracing change

Tim Richards

The Bible contains many fascinating stories from Jesus’ remarkable life. One of the most interesting is in John 5:1-15. It tells the story of a man who waited 38 years to be healed at the Pool of Bethesda. Tradition had it that periodically an angel would stir the pool and the first person who stepped into the water afterward would be healed.

No one who has not been confined to their bed for 38 years can imagine how difficult his experience must have been. Though he remained at the pool, he had come to terms with the fact that it was unlikely he would ever be healed. Then Jesus showed up and asked, “Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6, NLT) What a strange question. If the man did not want to be healed why would he have still been there? However, Jesus’ question was incredibly perceptive.

The lame man had been there for over half of his life. If he were healed his entire life would change and even when change is good, it is rarely easy. Mark Twain was right when he once said, “The only person who likes change is a wet baby.”

The answer to Jesus’ question seems obvious, but it is not. We all have areas we should change but do not. We are tempted to hang on to habits that doom us to a future that is much like our past. The lame man was living a life of hopelessness, convinced things would never change and he could not fully imagine what life would be like if it did.

Each of us have had moments when we focused on how bad things have been in our past and ignored the fact that God can change our future. I had a conversation with a man several years ago who did not think God was fair. After hearing his story, I understood his loss of perspective. However, like the man in this story, he was focused on the wrong thing and missed the fact that God could change him and his future.

In the story Jesus told the man, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8, NLT) The man was healed, but it was nothing like he expected. While most of us tend to resist change, God is never content to leave us where we are, he inevitably wants to change us.

I do not know how God wants to change you, but I know he does. This remarkable story teaches us to embrace the dream that God can change not only our circumstances, but us as well.

Author’s note:
Readers, this is chapter 16 in, “Sailing Through the Storm,” my newest book, which was released last week. If would like to purchase a copy it is available at, Thank you.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at