“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” – Acts 3:1-8

And this from Jesus…

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” – John 5:1-6

Do you want to get well? It is an important question. I am not so sure all of us want to get well. There are times in life it seems we would rather be stuck in our habit, addiction, or destructive behavior than really get well. Once you are well there are certain things you have to face, decisions you have to make and expectations to live up to.

The solution to our problem may not be what we think it is because we often get stuck on the symptom level. As long as we stay on the symptom level we can continue to embrace our unhealthiness and just treat the symptoms as we go. We never truly are well. The lame man ties his level of well being to how much money he can collect. Why would he think anything else? Sitting at the gate is all he knows. Sometimes we don’t know God well enough or are not honest enough with ourselves about what our problems really are to anticipate His working in our lives toward solutions. Real solutions can be more painful than just sticking with our dysfunction and so we avoid progress.

God wants to address our real problem with real solutions. We are tempted to get hung up on the symptoms and seek relief in more immediate ways. When God “fixes” things we may not fully understand it because His fix is a real fix and He is not interested in playing to our symptoms. God is not interested in you avoiding challenge, suffering or even pain. God wants you whole and He is willing to help you get there but first you have to want to be well.

Do you want to get well? If you do it is time to pray toward solutions rather than symptoms.