Jesus was drawn to an impotent man lying by the pool of Bethesda. “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?” (John 5:5-6). This unnamed crippled man has many faces and represents multitudes of impotent Christians who feel hopeless.
Impotence comes in many forms: physical, spiritual, mental—or all of these at once. Mentally and spiritually you may be that man lying by the pool. You are in a situation that seems hopeless and you see no way out. No one really understands the depth of your suffering; not a single friend or loved one seems to have the time, love or energy to really touch the hurt in you.
Take a good look at that impotent man and think of the years of struggle, the hurts heaped upon him by uncaring, insensitive people. How often he must have lifted a withered hand to those rushing by to get their own needs met, crying, “Someone, help! Please! I can’t do it on my own!”
Multitudes of Christians are spiritually helpless and impotent because of a lingering battle with some besetting sin that has robbed them of spiritual life and vitality. They lie helpless on the bed of depression and despair, always hoping for a miracle, always waiting for someone to stir things up and make something happen. They drag themselves to meeting after meeting, counseling sessions, seminars, waiting for that one great, life-changing miracle. But nothing changes.
I believe God’s great love is revealed in response to a cry from the heart—and I believe Jesus came to this man in answer to a deep and agonizing cry to the Father. The Bible has much to say about this cry from the heart. “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God; he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears” (Psalm 18:6). A cry to God from the heart will always be answered by a merciful, healing word from heaven!