It's my favorite Bible story of all time: The pool of Bethesda.
It's sparked my favorite posts that I've ever written; like Trouble The Waters, and Trouble The Waters 2.
And now it's sparking this one.
But as I was reading this this time - it stirred something different in me.
So, just to warm us all up and refresh our memories I'd like to repeat the story.
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, "Wilt thou be made whole?" The impotent man answered him, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming another steppeth down before me."
Jesus saith unto him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."
And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
I could keep going, because there is a little bit more to the story than that, but that is a good stopping place and still gives you the story.
What gripped me about the story is that the man is still going down. "while I am coming" he said, another stepped down before him. He didn't say that another would get there before him, so there was no point in trying. He said "while I am coming" even as he feared it was futile.
To add to that is the simple fact that this isn't a daily occurrence. It says the angel came at "a certain season". Let's just say for illustrations sake that it's talking about natures seasons and call it 4 times a year that the angel comes. (THIS IS NOT TRUE, I'm making up a number to just illustrate, I haven't been able to find any writings with anything more than a suggestion of one possibility.)
But even if it were 4 times a year, that gives you 3 months in between each failure to tell yourself that there isn't any point of even going to sit on one of the porches, much less getting up and trying to get in the pool before anyone else.
Trust me, after 3 months of telling myself it was pointless, there was no way I'd get there in time, I wouldn't disappoint myself by going back to the pool. I just wouldn't.
But here he is, for who knows how many years, season after season, knowing "while I am coming another steppeth down before me", he still comes.
For me, this fit into a struggle I'm facing.
I'm tired of trying church after church, being disappointed, and frustrated. I'm let down that after all these months in San Antonio I have yet to find a truly good church that can be my home. Last Sunday I went to a Baptist church, but it took every last bit of effort I had to make myself go. I had to bribe the kids to get them to go, and then rewarded them even further afterwards because the experience was so awful.
Every Sunday I struggle to make myself go. I don't want to get up. It's not going to be a good church. I'll leave even more disappointed with Christian-kind. It will make it that much harder to go next week. "While I am coming, another steppeth down before me."
But he kept stepping. For however many seasons, however many years, he still came down.
For me it's finding a church, for you it could be anything that you're tempted to admit defeat on. Anything you can see that it's obvious your desire won't come true. Anything that tells you it's too hard, you're not strong enough to succeed, someone else will get it instead of you. You know what it is because the minute I started this paragraph you started thinking about and wondering if there is any point in hoping for it.
So get up. Be a person who "yet comes". Because the miracle worker appears when you least expect it.
And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked; and on the same day was the sabbath.