Jesus went to Jerusalem; and in Jerusalem is a pool called Bethesda. Surrounding the pool was a large group of people who were sick, blind, paralyzed, etc. They were there waiting for the water to be stirred by an angel because they believed that the first person in the water after it had been stirred would be healed of their infirmity.

Jesus passed by the pool and saw a man lying nearby. Although He knew he had been lying there for 38 years He asked the man, “Do you want to be healed?”

Instead of the man saying “Yes, I want to be healed!”, he gave Jesus an excuse as to why he was still lying there for all those years. He said “I don’t have anyone to help me to the pool when it is time and someone always gets there before me.”

And Jesus, despite the man giving an excuse, had compassion on him and said, “Get up. You have been healed.”

And the man got up and found he was indeed healed.

John 5:1-9, interpreted by Sabina after the NKJV

How often do I have an excuse for God as to why I can’t do this or can’t do that.

I’m sorry I’m distracted this morning, Lord.
I can’t spend time with You today because … .
Thank You for Your promises but I’m going to do it my way and not wait for You to act.
I don’t have time to pray because … .
I didn’t believe in You this time because … .
And so forth and so on.

Even though the man in the story had an excuse, Jesus healed him anyway. Why? Love. Compassion. He knew the man’s heart.

God loves me in spite of my excuses. He will act on my behalf or for my benefit even though I have given Him plenty of reason to ignore me.

So why do I make up excuses? Because I feel guilty for not doing what I think God wants me to do. Because I want to justify myself and my human reasonings. Because, secretly, deep down inside, I have a firm (yet, wrong) belief that God won’t love me because I’m such a failure.

But God doesn’t want a sacrifice given out of guilt. He doesn’t want a sacrifice given because I have to. Instead, He wants it because I want to give it to Him. A sacrifice freely gifted is much sweeter than one forced.

And, I have to face the facts. My day goes much better when I begin it with God. My decisions are much more sound and restful when I include God in them.

God loves me for me
not because of what I do or don’t do
not because of who I am or who I am not
and not because I have a million excuses.
God loves me for me.

Dear Lord,
Let me always be honest with You, offering no excuses, but truth and honesty to You. If I don’t feel like praying, then let me say it; and, perhaps, by saying it I will begin to pray anyway.

Thank You for Your never ending supply of love, compassion and even humor with my all-too human foibles.


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