In one of our meetings, Pastor Chad asked the question “what about the next day”. This question caught my imagination. It was asked in reference to the story of the healing at the pool Bethesda. You can find this story in John 5. Miracles that Jesus performed were on real people and changed lives. This question is valid for all of Jesus’ interactions with people; day to day interactions and miracles.
Take the example of Jesus healing the invalid man at the pool.
The next day I assume that this man would need to find a job, acquire a skill, and provide for himself now that he wasn’t an invalid. Did he have family and friends that helped him each day get to the pool? He didn’t need that help now. Would he return the favor to them in their areas of need? Did he praise God for the healing? How would he live his life going forward? Is he going to continue to offer excuses for his life like in verse 7? And what is being referred to in verse 14 (he needs to stop sinning or something worse will happen)?
We don’t have any details of his life after being healed except that he later ran into Jesus at the temple. And really for me it’s more of a curiosity about what happened to him. The question lingers, “what about the next day?”.
Another example is the woman caught in adultery in John 8.
She was taken into the temple courts where Jesus was teaching. I’m sure everyone heard the commotion and gathered to hear what was going on. Everyone heard that she was caught in adultery. If her life wasn’t ruined before, it was now. Even after the accusers left, she was still there. Even after Jesus didn’t condemn her and told her to not sin. Everyone knew. We know how fast gossip travels. Did it even take 15 minutes for her family and friends to find out if they didn’t know before? So, the question stands, “what about the next day?”.
Did her family and friends effectively disown her? Did she have a husband and if so, what happened to the marriage? Did she turn from sin or did she fall deeper into it? Was she loved or made an outcast? She was used by the establishment to try and trap Jesus; then left there destroyed. Scripture doesn’t say what happened to her. Scripture does say that Jesus didn’t condemn her. How did she go forward?
The question “what about the next day” also applies to us. I have been given great blessings. A good job, great kids, a wonderful wife, and the saving grace from God. So, what about my next day? And, if you were to meet Jesus, what about your next day?
Some days I’m the main character in the story. He has healed me; he has forgiven me; my life is changed. How do I react? How do I go forward? And there are always consequences to our actions and the actions of others. Consequences may be good or bad. How we handle these events is the key in answering “what about the next day?”.
Some days I’m a supporting character in the story. Sure, it’s up to the main character to follow through; i.e. to work, to not fall back into sin, to mend fences, to confess, to be grateful, etc. But it is my responsibility to be the supporting cast. To love them, to support them, to guide them, to help them, to teach them, … It’s how we affect the outcome. It how we make the difference in someone else’s life. It’s how we are part of God’s work.
I enjoy thinking upon what the “day after” events may be in the scriptures. What might have happened, both good and bad. It’s harder to think of my “next days” and then live it. The “next day” is where the rubber meets the road. Do you follow the path God has laid before you? Do you follow where He leads? You decide.