Only Wounded Soldiers can Serve

 In Catalyst

In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.” (John 5:3-4, NKJV)

You know this story in John 5 – Jesus heals a paralyzed man sitting by the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem.

I wanted to introduce you to a short play written by American playwright Thornton Wilder called The Angel that Troubled the Waters. It takes place at this very pool.  After you read this blog, take five extra minutes and read it. The Angel that Troubled the Waters

The plot involves a physician who finds himself sick and unable to heal himself. His only hope is to be the next one in the pool once the healing angel arrives.  He sits at the edge of the water, waiting for any sign of movement. The angel arrives and asks the physician to step back and let someone else receive the healing.  The doctor, in turn, argues that if he were healed, he could help more people.

The angel responds: “Without your wound where would your power be? It is your very remorse that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve. Draw back.”

In my sermon last Sunday, I suggested that God wants to work through us, but that only happens when we’re empty and let him fill us.  Today I will add to that: God wants to minister to broken people, and he uses other broken people to do it.

The Apostle Paul writes: “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV)

The world doesn’t need a strong you.  “In Love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve.”  If you’ve been broken on the wheels of living, you’ve got what it takes to reach the broken.  The world doesn’t need a strong you, it needs a strong Jesus.