Cooperating With God

Healing of the Paralytic

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-za’tha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. Now that day was the sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, `Take up your pallet, and walk.'” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, `Take up your pallet, and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. John 5:1-15

Jesus asks the paralyzed man, “Do you want to be healed?” It is a strange question. But God works in cooperation with our freedom. Which is also a little strange. When Jesus asks the paralytic if he wants to be healed, Jesus is asking to know what the man’s intention is. Is his intention to will God’s will for him or not? An impure intention is one that may yield to God’s will while retaining a preference for one’s own will. We like to keep a choice between what we really think is best for us. Sometimes we think that what is best for us is doing God’s will and other times it is doing my own will. We like to weigh what we think is best for us against what we think God might really want for us.

A pure intention sees that the will of God is always good. We want to become people that not only do the will of God, but consistently will the will of God. The Lord has given us intelligence in order that we might enter into His plans with a free and intelligent cooperation.

What is the will of God? He asks not for sacrifices – like this man today needing someone to get him in the water. He asks for our selves. Sacrifice may be asked of us but not as an end to everything it may be the beginning to giving ourselves over more fully to God.

While on my trip to the OCF board meeting in Chicago I got to read part of Thomas Merton’s No Man Is An Island. Most of the reflection above is ripped or influenced from this book.

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1 Comment

Filed under Scripture Rumination, Sundays, Feast Days, Other Days

One response to “Cooperating With God

  1. The prevalent fear about doing God’s will is that one will have to sacrifice something, or give something up.

    Take a look at what you may need to let go of, in order to will God’s will. God’s will is infinitely good, and it’s performance in our lives is so unmistakably His work. Once experienced (being willing to will and invite God’s will), his response to prayer, and long term planning, is so much more abundant than our limited capacity to even conceive.

    We always want what we want, and we always will. It is the developing of one’s skill in releasing, and living in trust that allows God’s will. Sure, we make plans, professional goals, etc., but overall it is daily release to God for his help, guidance, and support – including releasing YOUR will once you have prayed your prayer.

    The results of this are nothing short of spectacular. Try it one day, then look back over the day…. was it you that was really there, or was it God working through you?

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