Healing by the Pool: What is Crooked Cannot be Straightened

Solomon said, “What is crooked cannot be straightened.” Jesus proved Solomon’s point with the miracle at the Pool of Bethesda. Miracles will always remain mysterious — perhaps none more so than the healing by the pool.

This pool bore no resemblance to pictures in resort promotions. This pool neared the Sheep Gate where sellers brought sheep, washing (probably in this pool), marketing and selling them for sacrifices at the temple. Sheep aren’t clean! Here human and animal smells and sounds mingled, swelling in volume during the Jewish festivals.

This pool, protectively surrounded by five covered colonnades, became a place of hope for many. Why?

Bent Eyelet

“Here a great number of disabled people used to lie
the blind, the lame, the paralyzed —
and they waited for the moving of the waters.
From time to time an angel of the Lord
would come down and stir up the waters.
The first one into the pool after each such disturbance
would be cured of whatever disease they had.”
John 5:3-5

Mercy and Grace

Bethesda means “kindness or mercy.” The number “five” represents “grace.” At the place called mercy and grace, the disabled, blind, lame, and paralyzed came hoping to find mercy and grace, where with mercy and grace God’s angel descended, making mercy and grace visible to all.

How many? How many waited and hoped? I can hardly imagine the sight, the weight of despair pressing against the odds of just maybe being the next one healed. It’s hard to maintain faith when disappointment comes often.

Bent Nail

I, too, am one who is crooked and cannot be straightened, in disabled condition. No, not outwardly, but inwardly. Disabled applies both morally and physically. Like them, I shelter under the colonnade of mercy and kindness, hoping and waiting. I, who am too often spiritually blind, unable to walk the Christian walk with strength, wait — paralyzed by my moral failures, unable to advance further.

They wait — hoping for an angel they can’t see, while missing the Messiah who stands among them.

Jesus Sees

Most people preferred to enter the grand city another way — a cleaner, quieter way. Jesus chooses this way. Here in the midst of the noise, the pain, the struggle, He comes. His eyes focus on one man.

What makes this man special that Jesus notices him above the massive throng? What make this man worthy of receiving?

Nothing!

“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?’ “
John 5:6

Rusty Bend Metal

Jesus asks questions so we will see and understand; He already knows the answer. The man’s response seems honest enough. But is it?

” ‘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.’
John 5:7

The answer to Jesus’ question should be, “yes,” or “no.” He, like me, choses to blame other people’s negligence for his present circumstance. For thirty-eight years, he suffered. For thirty-eight years, he depended on others., hoping someone would get him out of his predicament.

It’s all too easy to grow comfortable, even in our dysfunction, our disability, blindness, lameness and paralysis. Too easy to excuse or justify our “crooked and cannot be straightened” condition.

Cannot be Straightened

“What is crooked cannot be straightened,
what is lacking cannot be counted.”
Ecclesiastes 1:15

I’m told that when metal becomes bent, it cannot be straightened. It might look straight, and even function like it has been straightened, but bending causes the molecular structure to change, weakening the metal forever. Only one option remains for restoration — the complete remelting and remolding of the metal.

Casting Metal

In spite of the man’s moral and physical inadequacies, Jesus still comes with mercy and grace.

“Then Jesus said to him,
Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ “
John 5:8

Miraculously, the man does! In taking responsibility for himself, he obeys Jesus and walks away almost whole. Almost? Yes, almost!

A Matter of Heart

“Later Jesus found him
at the temple and said to him,
‘See, you are made well again.
Stop sinning or something
worse may happen to you.’ “
John 5:14

Jesus sought this man out again, and “found him.” More critical than a physical healing, Jesus desired a heart change for this man.

What was the sin he committed “at the temple,” in church? We aren’t told details; perhaps, because God wants us to see our own reflection here.

How great has Jesus extended mercy and grace to us, at the Sheep Gate, in our messiest condition? How often has He sought us, challenging our wayward thoughts and actions? Or offered warning or reprimand? How often has He asked for our devotion? How often have we refused?

“The man went away and told the Jewish leaders
that it was Jesus who had made him well.”
John 5:15

With body whole and heart hardened, the healed man turns traitor and reports Jesus to those who wish Him dead. We all either turn toward or away. There’s no in between!

We would hope for a better response — perhaps gratitude, worship or reverence.

The Melting

Without the melting of hearts toward Jesus, we, too, will be forever bent, left in a weakened, volatile state. Without the melting of my heart, I cannot be straightened. No one can!

Oh, how imperative the constant cry of my heart, “Melt me, Lord! Make me new! Remove the “churchy” appearance of looking good, surface healings and half-hearted walking. Lord, I desire the full deal, the real deal, the melting, remaking, painful, messy, recreating. Don’t let me settle for second best, almost complete, when the greatest miracle stands before me — a pure and upright heart.”

Pure Gold

The healing at the pool comes as a tragic reminder of humanities failure to recognize Christ Jesus in the face of His great mercy and grace. He comes to find us, to seek us out, again and again, welcoming all to come to Him wholly and fully.

How many more worthy were among the disabled throng that day? How many little children needed a miracle? Was there none at the pool deserving of mercy? No! No one is worthy; none deserve His blessing.

The essence of mercy reaches to the unworthy and undeserving. Jesus chose the least worthy to display His love and grace, then and now.

Oh, the hope for us all! The hope in knowing God hears our pathetic cry and changes hearts. It’s Who He is! It’s what He does — how He loves.

Only in Him will that which cannot be straightened be made completely new and whole.

Betty Boettger – Letting God Lead the Way!

For this supercharged senior, letting God lead the way is paramount! The difficulties that have crushed and silenced others have become her platform announcing victory and hope found in Jesus Christ.

The following verse appropriately describes this woman’s life:

We are hard pressed on every side,
but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.

We always carry around in our body
the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our body.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-10

A leisurely withdrawal from active service is the desire of many women her age. Betty is far from typical however!

Beginnings

Betty was born and raised in the Swift Current area of Saskatchewan. Her father, a Royal Air Force pilot from England, left his wife and his daughter in Saskatchewan when he returned to England after the war. Betty lived with her grandparents until her grandmother died of cancer when she was twelve.

Feeling angry, alone and abandoned, it was the age of turning for Betty.

The woods became a shelter where no one could see her play, wait and hide. In the seclusion of trees, Betty encountered a personal relationship with Jesus as Saviour. She simply talked to Him and He became extremely real to her.

“I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.”
Psalms 18:1-2

As a teenager, Betty met Bob who was seven years older than her. He was the same faith, good looking and had attended university.  Intrigued, she became his wife at 16.

Marriage

Because Bob was polite and courteous while dating, Betty was unaware of the abusive situation ahead. Unknown to Betty, he was a “drunk”, a severe alcoholic. Only ten days into their marriage, she was beaten for the first time. This pattern of drinking and abuse marked the next 17 years.

Two to three times a week, Bob would come home angry and for no apparent reason, severely beat his bride. It formed a painful cycle their children witnessed on multiple occasions.

Betty called out to God many times in those years, as she sat at the window, watching, waiting, knowing what would occur when her husband returned. Even in the midst of brutal attacks, Jesus was always there!

What kept her in the marriage?

She knew Bob never liked what he did. She also knew he was never unfaithful to her. Lastly, in spite of the violence, Betty knew somehow he loved her. Yet, he didn’t seem to have any control over his conduct.

“But in my distress
I cried
out to the LORD;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry to him reached his ears.”
Psalm 18:6

Difficult Years

Early in marriage, Betty also carried the responsibility for her brother-in-law’s four children, when their mother abandoned them. The basic comforts and conveniences of running water or central heating were unavailable. It was a difficult life — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

After 17 years, Bob fell to his knees at the hitch of the farm tractor. He said, “God if you are real, there has to be more to life than this.”

“He reached down from on high
and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy.”
Psalm 18:16-17

Instantly God healed, saved and delivered him from all his addictions and violent behaviour. Bob began to experience the freedom of letting God lead!

He didn’t disclose to Betty what had happened until two years later. He came in from the tractor and announced, “Things are going to change!”

Betty’s first thought was, “How?”

A dramatic and welcome change occurred, however!

Delivered

In the remainder of their 21 years together, he never drank, smoked, threw food or beat his wife. Bob became a powerful man of God, praying his family into the kingdom.

“As for God, his way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?”
Psalm 18:30-31

Together they started watching Christian television. Many times Betty recommitted her life to Christ watching 100 Huntley Street. Betty began to walk hand in hand with her husband, letting God lead them together.

They read the bible believing all that was promised. Miracles were the norm. They saw God do many things during those years. They knew they just had to ask and God would provide.

Though Bob’s transformation and deliverance was instant, it took about 10 years for Jesus to heal their marriage. Betty never hated her husband. However after years of abuse, she did not love him.

Restored

Many who live in abusive situations experience this reality, because the love of God available for them is consistently undermined.

Betty knew in her head God loved her. “The space between God and I was no problem! The space between my head and my heart was!” she confesses.

One weekend, Betty travelled to Medicine Hat to their son’s hockey tournament. Bob stayed at home. While reading in the bedroom, he saw a vivid vision of Betty standing in the doorway. She appeared more beautiful than ever before.

Amazed by her beauty, he said, “God, I don’t see her that way.”

“Well, I do!” God’s voice boomed so loud it cracked the window in the bedroom.

“Ok! Ok!” Bob fearfully said.

As he later related the vision to Betty, the realization of the God’s great love for her shifted from her head to her heart. Such love has never left her!

Through the power of God, the family grew and became strong. Betty completed a university degree while her children were in school. She became a rural municipality secretary, a notary of public, and served on the hospital board and a school board for many years.

Letting God lead in a new way, Betty started a home based business which grew over the next 35 years. For nine years she owned her own kitchen supply store in the Swift Current mall.

Bob went to be with the Lord in 1997 as a result of cancer.

God’s Lead

Ordained with two Pentecostal organizations, Betty was launched into ministry with a heart for evangelism and bringing hope to the abused. After experiencing healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, she ministers the same at every opportunity.

“It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.”
Psalm 18:32-33

Speaking opportunities soon opened for Betty from Vancouver Island to New Brunswick. Betty’s motto, “If you’re not a missionary, you’re a mission field.” 

Pursuing itinerant ministry, she had no intention of marrying again. She was single, happy and fulfilled!

Unexpected Turn

While staying with mutual friends between ministry engagements, Betty was introduced to Dennis. In spite of there being little time for interaction, one night God laid Dennis on her heart.

Betty wanted no part of marriage!

She challenged, “God if this is You, You are messing up my life.”

Nonetheless Betty added, “But I know that You know what is good for me better than I do, so if this is You, You are going to have to make it plain to me. If this is You, tell him to ask me to go to Ottawa tomorrow.” Never one for the “tourist thing”, the request was unusual!

The next morning as Betty was making breakfast, Dennis asked, “What are you doing today? … I am going to do the tourist thing and go to Ottawa. I wondered if you would like to come along.”

Shocked, she sat in a chair! God had given confirmation. Even while letting God lead, Betty stayed three feet away from Dennis all day, unwilling to even use the armrest in the car.

How could a relationship even develop? One from Saskatchewan, the other from Alberta! One a farmer, the other in medicine! Both from different denominations! Yet her heart was being stirred!

Though Betty knew God was speaking, it would take a little longer for Dennis to hear. And Betty was in no way willing to help the process along!

By a sovereign work of the Lord, they were married in 2004 at Thanksgiving. Together they have six sons, six daughters-in-law and 20 grandchildren. All love the Lord and are serving Him.

New Beginning

You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me;
your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.”
Psalm 18:35-36

Today Betty touches lives at every opportunity, bringing hope and assurance that God loves and cares.

Before remarriage, Betty ministered itinerantly across Canada as an evangelist and in healing ministry. She has seen many lives changed, hearts and bodies healed. Jesus remains unquestionably her first love.

Accepting God’s change became a great blessing! Betty now says, “I would not know what it is like to be so incredibly happy.

She counsels all ages, “If you are looking for someone in your life, let God do the choosing. Go to Him to choose your mate. Don’t go looking yourself!”

Together Dennis and Betty have ministered to the nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, and the United States of America. In Canada, they continue to impact lives in eight provinces and territories, faithfully returning to Inuvik twice a year.

The impact of their ministry continues from the Arctic Circle to Virginia and from British Columbia to New Brunswick.

“The LORD lives!
Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Saviour!…
Therefore, I will praise you, LORD,
among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name.”
Psalm 18:46-49

God made no mistake in bringing this couple together! Easing back is not in the Boettger’s near future!

Dennis and Betty exemplify letting God lead all the way! Supercharged and ready to go? Absolutely! Together they minister with liberty and transparency, wherever God gives opportunity.

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Watch 100 Huntley Street Interview 2019:

http://www.100huntley.com/watch?id=228012

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdODC1as7Co 

 

Before and After! God’s Transformation at Work!

Before and after? You would think my husband and I enjoy renovating and transforming old spaces into new more practical versions. However, what is truly amazing is God’s transformation at work in human lives!

We have several before and after pictures of kitchen, bath, and landscape renovations. The work of transformation is usually a messy process. Our vision of the end result drives us forward! There is always a cost associated with reconstruction. Sometimes it is higher than initial estimates; at other times we have been right on target.

My First Home

My father built our family farm-house from design to finish. It stood the test of time surviving the fury of even a prairie tornado! Four generations lived within its walls creating memories.

Transformation from farm house to cottage!

Now it has been moved to a nearby lake and rests securely as beachfront property. Though it looks much the same, the surrounding landscape is radically different from its original location. I smile when I think of what an avid fisherman my father was. He would be pleased to see his workmanship in this scenic spot.

Today new generations are enjoying my father’s labours.

God’s Choice

God is the Master of transformation! We see His workmanship igniting destiny and bringing purpose into seemingly ordinary people.

As we consider God’s choices for forerunners in the church, we justly scratch our heads in wonder. At the same time, we can take hope from these unlikely candidates! Most of them got off to a rather poor start!

  • Paul bored someone to death by his sermon! Fortunately he was also able to resurrect the poor lad!
  • Peter who often had at least one sandal stuck in his mouth became the apostle to the Jews. You can be sure these scholars examined his every word!
  • Mary, a former prostitute, led the first woman’s ministry to the tomb and became the first to declare Jesus’ resurrection
  • The Sons of Thunder, who were known to fight for “top dog” position, settled into stride promoting others to places of honour and authority!

Diamonds in the Rough - From Rough to Refined!

All of them were diamonds in the rough before God began His work! He had vision to see their potential!

We can find strength and encouragement from even these few examples! Knowing God used murderers, prostitutes, and shepherds, I know He can use anyone! If God deliberately chose the weak and fearful, it is not unreasonable to believe that He can and will use you and me! Because God chose to use the unlikely, ill-equipped, social rejects, and family outcasts, He is perfectly capable of using us!

God’s transformation is so complete in the lives He touches, there is little similarity between the before and after!

Hope

“Remember … that few of you
were wise in the world’s eyes
or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish
in order to shame those who think they are wise.
And he chose things that are powerless
to shame those who are powerful.”
I Corinthians 1:26-28

I’m in the list! Right here is where I do my happy dance! I fit!

Celebrate God's transformation working in us!

Foolish? Weak? Yes! I qualify!
Lowly? Despised? Check! Check!
Things that are not? Yes, that’s me!

Here is where I am filled with awe! When I face the reality of my humanity, I fall helpless and breathless in the wonder of His love, mercy and grace!

God choosing me is too wonderful to understand!

We all possess the need to be known fully and loved unconditionally! Click To Tweet

We all possess the need to be known fully and loved unconditionally! God alone does both, and more! He alone satisfies and fills the deepest craving for absolute acceptance and unconditional love!

Transformation

My question is why! When there is no good thing in and of myself, why would You choose me?

“to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who has become for us wisdom from God—
that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
I Corinthians 1:28-30

Our weakness and insufficiency amplifies His greatness and goodness!

The first step, my husband and I do in renovation, is take apart what presently exists, removing walls, wiring and plumbing. We go right to the structural elements! Later, we start again replacing faulty materials with new.

God does much the same in us! It is a lifelong process that one day will be perfectly perfect! Some day we will be completely complete! But not here!

It is a lifelong process that one day will be perfectly perfect! Some day we will be completely complete! Click To Tweet

There is only one adequate response, worship!

God is the only One worthy of worship!

Chosen

God has chosen each one of us! Contemplate that for a moment! Every one of us, hand-picked, specifically selected, divinely appointed, highly favoured,  and elected for Him, through Him and by Him!

The Mighty God,
Creator of all things,
Redeemer, Saviour, Friend,
The Anchor of our souls and Hope eternal,
King above all other kings, The Lord of lords,
The One upon the throne,
our Shepherd, Light and Salvation,
who holds all things secure in the palm of His hand,
whose strength flashes like lightning,
and whose voice resounds like thunder,
too big for any box we might want to put Him in,
beyond understanding,
from everlasting to everlasting limitless,
self-existed, omnipresent, all-powerful,
knowing all things and seeing all things,
Love unconditional and undeniable,
wild and holy,
dwelling in irreproachable light,
nothing can stand against Him, no power can limit Him,
His mercies are new every morning
 faithful to all He has promised….

Seeing from heaven's perspective!

The One and only God has chosen, called and ordained you and me unto Himself! He is committed to seeing each of us rise to the fullness of our potential.

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely,
and may your whole spirit and soul and body
be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
I Thessalonians 5:23-24

His transformation process continues in each of us! Rejoice in His faithfulness!

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More on Transformation: Meeting God in the Ordinary – From Common to Holy

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