As the Savior raises the edge of the cloth with one hand, He beckons with the other and asks a penetrating question: 'Wilt thou be made whole?'
The man replies, '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' (John 5:6–7).
To the man’s seemingly impossible challenge, Jesus provides a profound and unexpected answer:
'Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
'And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked' (John 5:8–9).
To me, it seems like the impossible challenge wasn't the man explaining why change is impossible; it was Christ's response. What is more impossible than telling an infirm man to take up his bed and walk?
This isn't the only time that Christ asks someone to do something impossible. He asks Lazarus to come forth. He commands the daughter of Jairus to arise. He asks Peter to walk on the water. Each time, He then provided the ability. Each time he healed them and blessed them and gave them all that was needed to fulfill his commandments. But each time, the miracle isn't clear until they trust and try.
I'm reminded that often when I pray for help or guidance, the answers seem impossible. Whether it be to have another child or to share a personal experience or not get angry at my children or move to a huge city or forgive a careless (or not so careless) remark or even to find time for scriptures each day, I am often like the man at the pool of Bethesda, patiently explaining to the Lord exactly why it is impossible for me to do more or be more. "I'm broken," I explain. "There's not time." "I'm not talented like that." "I don't know how." "I'm exhausted and scared." "I can't even do my current responsibilities."
I'm learning to trust and move forward. I'm learning that, yes, it is all impossible. And yet as I strive to do the impossible, miracles happen. The power of grace fills in all the gaps, and then some. Through his power, things work out eventually in beautiful ways.
Maybe someday I will be able to hear an impossible invitation from the Lord and rejoice in the miracle that is about to happen.