April 5, 2014 by Renee Griffin
Saturday night I had a dream that I don’t remember. It was one of those intense dreams that seems so real. You have a memory out there that you can feel, but you can’t see. The only thing I do remember is waking up with a direction to go to the verses about Jesus healing the cripple at the Pool of Bethesda. I woke up completely hearing the directive. It was a command, and I knew I had to find these verses, but I didn’t go there immediately.
During church on Sunday, I tried to skim through my Bible to find this passage, but I had my “church” Bible and not my study Bible. My church Bible is a small one I carry on Sundays that the hubs gave me. My big study Bible is the one my daddy gave me for Christmas the year before I got married. The reason I tell you that is…that if I’d had my big friend I could’ve found the passage easy.
The little Bible was not helping me out Sunday morning between trying to pay attention to the preacher, fill in the blanks on my sheet, and find this passage. I got frustrated and gave up. The timing just wasn’t right so I am just guessing that He hid the passage until I needed to see it. He does that to me a LOT! Actually He uses my weaknesses to show me stuff…either way you want to look at it.
Over the next few days, The Lord was showing me some things in my life that needed attention. I had some fears come out of nowhere that temporarily paralyzed me.
Have you ever had that happen?
Has the enemy sent a thought or a feeling, something weird and crazy into your life and you were just stunned? It happens to me from time to time, and I have learned to recognize the signs when it happens.
The devil has tell-tale signs.
God doesn’t operate in chaos. He is a God of order and calm in the midst of confusion.
So, when all these crazy emotions started hitting me from nowhere, it took a minute, but I realized where they were coming from and then I knew what to do….apply scripture.
I started praying and quoting scripture, and then I brought out the big guns. I called in my prayer warriors to battle with me.
I don’t do that often because after many battles that I have faced in life, God has trained me to fight. His Word is enough.
But…sometimes you gotta have backup. This was one of those times. Praise God for sisters in Christ that you can trust with your private wars, and they keep it private. Praise God for sisters in Christ who know His Word and will stop what they are doing, fall on their faces, and pray.
My prayer warriors, got your back with some powerful scriptures, know God intimately, sisters in Christ started blowing up my phone with prayers and verses. Little did I realize that their words from The Lord and verses would be what I needed to hear before I understood the passage God had given me in my dream. What an awesome, on-time, revelational God we serve. Wow!
In these next words, I am going to attempt to share with you what He showed me. And then you will see how all this fits with the new character who came into my life and why she needed me and I needed her and how God knew all of this.
“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?” “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.” (John 5:1-3, 5-8 NIV)
At the pool of Bethesda there is a cripple, who has been an invalid for 38 years. He was there lying by the pool. This pool supposedly had healing powers as the verses say, and yet he somehow never managed to get down into those waters in front of him and get healed. He just stayed there right beside the healing waters making excuses, getting attention, and still…crippled.
So when Jesus comes by, he doesn’t recognize Christ, his reply to Jesus proves that he was full of excuses. No motivation at all…
Jesus asked him, “Do you WANT to get well?”
He basically says, I can’t . I don’t have any help. Folks be cuttin’ in line… I need somebody to do it for me.
Jesus commands him…”Get up! Pick up YOUR mat and walk.” Or…Move!!!!
Healed, but unaware of his Healer, he does as Jesus commands.
Later Jesus comes back to find him, and the man is in the temple, the House of God, and Jesus says something so interesting…
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
Then when he went away he knew it was Jesus.
Okay,,,, so here’s the revelation.
The place where this man was laying was a site with two twin pools covered by five colonnades. There would have been a colonnade on each of the four sides and one between the two pools.
The word colonnade intrigued me so I looked it up. It’s a Greek word, stoa, and it means a portico, or in the KJV it’s a covered porch.
This dude was laying on a porch.
The lack of healing in his life had kept him out on the porch so he never moved into the temple, God’s House. Only when he obeyed Jesus did he move into the temple. Then he recognized his Healer.
I LOVE porches.
Growing up, I spent countless hours on the porch of my grandparent’s old clapboard house. There with my daddy’s parents, we’d just sit on the porch either in the swing or in rocking chairs. I have beautiful memories of being in that old swing with my grandaddy. He always wore overalls except on Sundays. My grandmother always sat in a rocking chair. She’d sit and fan herself to keep the bugs and heat at bay. I have a picture hanging in our family room of my grandparents and my sister and I sitting on the steps of that porch. There were many stories told and lessons learned on that porch. For instance, did you know that tree sap is supposed to cure a sore throat? My grandmother was about to try out this remedy on me once, but I bolted off that porch as fast as I could go, and she wasn’t able to catch me. Hard to run in a polyester dress.
I just LOVE old people. I really, really do. I use the term “old people” with great respect & admiration. In a society that values youth, the older generation gets a bad rap sometimes. They shouldn’t. The older generation knows things that we don’t. They have vast knowledge that would benefit us greatly if we took the time to listen. That’s the beauty of a porch. You can just sit and listen.
I would do lots of sitting and listening in the next years ahead as my birthfather finally decided that he needed to tell his mother about me.
My birth-grandmother was living in a nursing home a few miles away from my birthfather’s house. He had told me about her, but said he was afraid that she wasn’t strong enough to take the shock of me. I didn’t pressure him to tell her because I really had no interest at the time in adding other people to this deal. I was struggling to emotionally handle everthing. He was so protective of his mother that he felt she would be better to be left out of the loop. That was fine with me.
One day we were talking on the phone and he said he had changed his mind.
He said he had decided to tell his mother.
I told him it was fine with me if he thought she’d be okay with the news. I surely didn’t want this little lady who was in poor physical shape to have a heart attack over news like this. I guess over time of adjusting to my place in his life, he had decided that the risk was worth it.
So, he called her.
We always protect the ones we love. In trying to protect them though we sometimes don’t give them credit. She may have been in terrible physical condition, but her heart, mind, and spirit were solid like steel.
When he called, he told her something big had happened. He asked her if she remembered my birth mother. She said yes. Then she began to recant to him the details of everything that happened that she was involved in during this time.
Then he told her that my birthmother had given birth to a baby girl and that baby girl had found him.
When she heard the news, she heard it this way…I have a granddaughter.
She wanted to meet me immediately.
I am sure that he was concerned about all the normal worries we face when we have big news to share, but what he never counted on was the gift he was giving her and me.
I learned later that she had gotten saved late in life after a very hard life. She had prayed for many years for God to give her grandchildren. It was the deepest desire of her heart.
This lady had a broken body. She was completely crippled. Her days were spent in her bed or a wheelchair totally dependent upon others. She’d been in the nursing home for about 7 years or so. Her lungs were a mess and she used oxygen to help her breathe. Her back was a mess, too, and she really needed surgery but the condition of her lungs prevented surgery. Her hands were curled and frozen due to arthritis. The list goes on and on. It was a pitiful physical outlook. The only places she’d been in the past years were the rooms within the nursing home.
Her mind and spirit were strong! I saw this myself on the day we arranged to go and meet her.
The hubs and I picked up my birthfather and off we went to the nursing home. I was excited to get to see this woman in the flesh. The first image I saw of her was an oil painting hanging in my birthfather’s house. She was beautiful! The painting showed a blonde woman with green eyes dressed up in a fancy dress. Her hair was all fixed in an up-do. I felt a little faint the first time I saw the painting. I have never fainted out of shock before, but something about her face nearly took me out. When I saw her, I could see my daughter. It took my breath away. The eyes of a stranger held the face of my baby girl. I was amazed that genetics actually worked. As an adopted child you are somewhat shocked that you have DNA and it actually works. Weird, but true.
When we arrived at the nursing home, I held my birthfather’s arm as we walked in. He had his stick, but I could see that he didn’t want to use it. We walked together inside and down the hallway to her room. The staff had helped her get ready for this meeting. She’d had her hair and nails done. She was waiting on us. When he knocked and called out “Mama?”, the door opened on a new chapter for me. She was sitting in a wheelchair with a broken body, yes… But, she was not broken on the inside. He ushered me in and presented his daughter to his mother. Those eyes looked straight at me with such anticipation. Her crippled arms reached out to hug me and right then I was smitten.
I loved her immediately.
She had no expectations of me. She only wanted to know me. We talked and shared bits of our lives that day. The fact that I was her one and only grandchild was not lost on her. She wanted to know everything about me and my life. I brought some pictures for her to have. The way she held them was like someone had handed her the Hope Diamond. They were precious to her. I told her about my family and the good life I had been blessed with, and I told her about my kids. She was very interested in meeting them, and I promised her to arrange it.
Now, even though her lungs were practically filled with fluid, this lady still insisted on smoking. I saw firsthand that day how strong her will really was. We wheeled her out to the courtyard which she considered “her courtyard”. (She was a bit of a princess herself.) The attendant had to make sure to unhook the oxygen so we didn’t all blow up… Then she took a few laborious drags on her cigarette. I remember being purely astonished at the willpower it takes to smoke when you can hardly breathe. I thought, “Man, she’s a tough old bird.”
During the visit, my birthfather went to the restroom which was inside her room. As he fumbled his way to find the door right in front of him, trying to act like he could see, she watched him like a hawk. When he closed the door behind him, she turned to me and said, “He is blind as a bat.” I busted out laughing. Yep, she was most definitely my blood. She called it like she saw it, didn’t mince words, and meant what she said. She went on to say she didn’t understand why he tried to hide the truth. She was his mother. She knew him. The love between them was so real and so obvious.
They were two people broken deeply in different ways, but their connection to each other was sealed.
As much as I loved, I mean LOVED being in their lives, I was realizing how much I LIKED these two people. Being with them was easy. They accepted me for exactly who I was and wanted to move forward in a relationship right away.
Part of our growing relationship was meetings like our first one and a few phone calls along the way, but the biggest part was in letters. We would write letters to each other.
I have a stack of letters she wrote to me and to the children, and I cannot read them without tears. In her first letters she would apologize to me over and over for being crippled. She would beg me to accept her as she was. Bless her heart, she thought her physical limitations would somehow make me decide she wasn’t worthy to be in my life. She marveled too in her letters that God would love her enough to send her a grandchild at her age.
She wrote, “I almost gasp for breath when I think of what would have happened, what we would have missed if you had not decided to find us. Oh, Dear God, what we would have missed. Just another one of God’s blessings that we receive everyday and take for granted.”
Wise words from a crippled hand.
Inside that broken body, was a soul saved by the grace and mercy and blood of Jesus Christ.
I gasp for breath now too knowing that if I had been disobedient to God when He told me to search, that she would have suffered. He desires to bring healing to His people. We are His Hands and Feet on this earth and when He gives us a command, we’d best follow it. If not, we miss the blessing and can possibly cause others to miss out too.
She, like my birthfather, was not in my plans. They were in God’s.
As I struggled these past weeks with the issue God was talking to me about, I learned through scripture that He wants to take all of His Children to new levels of healing. Of course, we won’t have complete healing until we are with Him in heaven, but He wants us so close to Him that we allow Him to heal our hearts. The deeper we allow Him in, the more He will shine His Light on areas we never considered in need of healing.
Our healing will depend on our obedience.
When I called in the prayer warriors about my struggle, one gave me this scripture as a part of her prayers over me.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty….”
I was crying and praying this verse aloud and began to draw on a sticky note. I wrote the word “me”and then I drew an arc over the word me and wrote…”Under the Shelter”… I needed a visual… I needed to see myself under the shelter of the Most High.
“Lord, I want to dwell in your shelter…the shelter of God is His Temple…His House…The House of The Lord…”
And then the revelation came….
Like the crippled fellow in John 5, until sin is confessed and Jesus heals, I am just like the one laying on the porch. When you confess your sin, and really repent and turn, and are obedient to His commands, then He Heals you of ALL YOUR INFIRMITIES and you GET UP AND WALK INTO THE HOUSE!!!
Without obedience, you will be stuck out on the porch.
And then this nugget of Truth…
Are you going to stay on the porch???
Or are you going to walk into the House???
Whooooweeee…..I don’t know about you, but I ain’t staying out on the porch. I want be IN the House with The Lord. And I am ready to hear whatever sin He sees in me that needs confessing. I want to be completely healed.
When he told the guy at the pool of Bethesda to take up his mat, to get up and move, Jesus was making sure that the man didn’t have a spot left by the pool. He was trying to get this man to see that to move on, you need to let go of the past. Move on and take your mat with you so there is no room for you to come back. Stop making excuses and stop making your pain about you. The past is keeping you stuck. The past is stopping your healing.
The porch is great for sitting and talking, but the HOUSE? The House is where the real action is! Inside the Lord’s House is a new level of faith and more healing.
If God can take a child given up for adoption and give her a wonderful life and still see fit to send her back to her birth family, that’s life in The House. If God can deliver me to my birthmother’s doorstep when finding her should not have been possible, that’s life in The House. If God can send me to a blind man all alone and give him a daughter, that’s life in The House. If God can answer the prayers of a older, crippled lady in a nursing home by providing not only a grandchild, but three great-grandchildren, that is life in The House.
So, let me say this loud and clear. There is no “If God can…” God can, and God did.
Over the next months, God moved in a mighty way in my life and their lives. I didn’t know it, but He was moving in my birthmother’s life too. The day was coming when He would ask me to obey Him in an area that I didn’t want to obey. He was calling me to forgive. I would have to decide. Would I stay out on the porch and hold on to my pain? Or would I get up, forget the past, and move on?