At The Pool of Bethesda
"Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 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 lay… the blind, the lame, and 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?" "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked." John 5:1-18
The Pool of Bethesda was a spring-fed pool with five porches located on the eastern side of the city near the Fortress of Antonia. The name Bethes'ds beth-ez'da in the Greek and from Aramaic Beth hesda, which means "house of grace". A careful study of this particular passage of scripture will reveal a terrible dilemma that is plaguing our nation.
One day on a feast of the Jews, which probably was the Passover feast. The three required Jewish feasts were Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Exod 23:14-17; 34:23; Deut 16:16). Everyone by the pool of Bethesda was there waiting for an angel to stir the water so they could be healed, Jesus standing by the pool asked one of the invalid men a very interesting question… "Do you want to get well?" Why would he be there if he didn't want to get well, is it possible Jesus knew something we don't? We all are living in a time where people profess to want help out of their circumstances, but really they want help to stay in it.
In today’s economy many families share their household with adult children for financial or other reasons. The Word of God admonishes us to take care of our family members, “But those who won't care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.” 1 Timothy 5:8 But where do we draw the line when it comes to healthy living. Many parents are held hostage by emotions: anger, frustration, disappointment, guilt and fear of what will happen if they do throw their adult birdie out of the nest without a safety net. The important thing to remember: your adult child is not entitled to live in your home past the age of eighteen. It’s a privilege and you have every right to set the parameters. That has always been your right and always will be. When a child reaches the age of 18, they become a full legal adult in most US localities.
Some parents have adult children at home who are abusing them verbally or even physically. You have the right to live in your own home, free from abuse, intimidation or disrespect. Anytime someone treats you in this way, they are violating a boundary and sometimes violating the law. It’s your right to establish personal boundaries that keep you physically and emotionally safe. In other situations, some adult children are not quite abusive, but they have literally worn out their welcome by taking and taking (financially and emotionally) without giving in return.
The bottom line is you do not have to feel guilty about moving your adult child into independence so you can have your own life back. You have the right to spend your money on things for yourself. You have the right to enjoy peaceful evenings in your own home. You have the right to have the environment you want in your home. You’ve raised your child; he or she is an adult now… you are not expected to provide for them any more than your parents are expected to provide for you as an adult.
God’s Word gives us insight on how to instruct our adult children. Solomon the wisest man that ever lived used nature in his method of instructions, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)
Solomon’s father King David used the same analogies “those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” (Psalm 91:1-4)
God has placed great wisdom in animal parents. They spend much time in training their young ones. A she-bear may take up to two years teaching her cubs. She shows them where they can find food, teaching them to dig for spicy tubers. And it is she that introduces them to the tangy sweetness of wild honey, a delicacy that they relish for the rest of their lives.
How does a young flying squirrel learn how to glide? His mother simply pushes him off a tree branch. And the youngster seems to know instinctively what to do to break his fall. He spreads out his tiny feet, and the thin membrane on each side connecting his front and back legs forms a sort of parachute enabling him to glide safely to the ground. Instinct indicates to mother flying squirrel when her little one is ready to learn this feat. If she pushed him out of a tree at too young an age, it could be fatal, but God has instilled in them the proper moment in time to do so.
Instead of picturing of your adult child as a little bird whose wings may not hold him up when he leaves the nest, think of him or her as fully capable of flying. Our emotions can cause us to be so afraid of what will happen to our kids if we think of them as children, rather than adults. In reality, your adult child is an adult equal to you and equally capable of making it in this world. Thinking of him as incapable is actually a disservice to him and keeps you in parental caretaking mode. Your adult child may be uncomfortable with some of the steps you’re taking that encourage more responsibility… but that’s okay! It’s what he or she needs to experience in order to make changes within themselves. Changing your viewpoint will help you strengthen those guilt’s and fear emotional buttons.
The key to launching your adult birdie is to prepare him or her for flight. If your adult child lives in your home, draw up a contract that specifies the terms of her living there. This is an agreement between two adults. Don’t think of her as your child; picture her as a tenant. Then you’ll be less likely to have your emotional buttons set off. Let’s say if your neighbor gave you a sob story about how much she needed a cell phone, would you buy it and pay the monthly bill? An adult child may decide he or she doesn’t like the contract and will decide to live elsewhere. More power to them! The important thing to remember: your adult child is not entitled to live in your home past the age of eighteen. It’s a privilege and you have every right to set the parameters… that’s always been your right and always will be!
A huge part of launching your adult birdie is to make them uncomfortable, and stop paying for all the extras things he or she views as necessities that really are not. In this world, he can live without cell phones, internet, computers, haircuts, make-up, and clothes from the mall, video games and any other leisure activity you can think of. If they’re struggling, they can get clothes from the Salvation Army or Goodwill. They can take the bus. He can eat cheap like boxed macaroni & cheese and Ramen noodles. Just like what many of us ate when we didn’t have any money. Many adult children make a career out of working their parents to provide things for them that the parents really can’t afford themselves. Look at it this way. They really don’t have to text; they can write letters. Stamps are less than a dollar vs. a $50/month data package. They can live without these things… they just doesn’t want to! It’s okay for your adult child to be uncomfortable; we’ve all been uncomfortable and survived. It’s actually a good thing and necessary for change. Change occurs when things feel uncomfortable, out of balance or unsteady for a person. It’s what motivates them to find their stability again, through employment, returning to college, offering their services through odd jobs or whatever it takes to get the things in life that they want.
God commands parents to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). It’s vital for a parent to instruct their child on how to provide for themselves, instead of providing an easy life that is not a true representation of reality.
Considering the Triconomy of man, millions and billions of human beings on this planet all so unique and yet all of us are the same in three aspects: We all have a spirit, which gives life and, once saved provides a direct link to our Heavenly Father. We all have a soul often referred to as Heart in the Scriptures which is the seat of our intellect, emotions, and the very fiber of who we are. We all have a body which is the visible aspect of our Spiritual anatomy and the part that house the invisible parts of us. God expects parents to teach children at an early age spiritual truths. “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). King David acknowledged, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) Training up a child requires balanced instructions in all three areas.
Jesus asked the paralytic man by the pool of Bethesda a question that has rung out for over 2,000 years and has now come to you and me. Do you want to get well? Many today have become so comfortable with their sickness, that healing looks like a bigger problem. What saves us is Jesus confronting our excuses with His miraculous power and saying, "Pick up your mat and walk." This instruction from Jesus forced the paralytic to make a pivotal decision and the paralytic man knew at that very moment, if he didn't follow Jesus’ direction to walk, he could no longer blame chance or fate for his life. He could no longer ask for pity, because his future was in his hands… It's like Jesus was telling him I'm not going to help you live in weakness when you can live in my strength. The Apostle Paul lived his life in this manner, “Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Paul further states, "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Romans 8:26-27
If we are willing… just like the paralytic man at the pool of Betheseda to pick up our mat and walk. I truly believe God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
Lord, we stand here before you as weak, broken, sick, sinful people. We admit we're utterly unable to heal ourselves. We open ourselves to your healing power and accept the changes your healing will make in our lives. We know this will open us up to new problems we've never faced or imagined before and we trust you to be there with us, carrying us through to your glorious kingdom in Christ Jesus.