Life is all about stories and these stories are woven into a complex tapestry revealing the journey of a man or woman through life. From the moment a baby is born, a story begins. Some of these stories are made made up of other stories, while others are seemingly stand-alone stories with a start and an end.

Stories are very important. Stories need to be told in order to convey facts that may be required to save a life out to establish the truth. When you are ill and visit a Doctor, the first thing he or she asks you is, ‘Can you tell me what the problem is?’ Most often than not, the patient begins to tell his story.

The Doctor, seeking further information will often ask more questions which in turn will generate another set of stories. Analysing those stories combined with formal examination is what gives the doctor the ability to diagnose the patient.

It is important to tell a story but most importantly, to tell the correct story. If a Doctor were to ask a question that would have led to a correct diagnoses and we tell a different story or give the wrong answers, then we will end up worse for it.

Jesus encountered two men who needed to tell their stories. The first one is a man who had been ill for thirty eight years. He had been lying beside the pool of Bethesda for a long time hoping to get well. Here comes our first story.

Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was Bethesda Pool, with five covered platforms or porches surrounding it. Crowds of sick folks—lame, blind, or with paralyzed limbs—lay on the platforms (waiting for a certain movement of the water, for an angel of the Lord came from time to time and disturbed the water, and the first person to step down into it afterwards was healed).(John 5:2-4)

So we have a pool visited by an angel at intervals and when the water is stirred up, the first person who jumps in becomes healed. Unfortunately for this man, he is so weak he has no chance against others who are stronger and fitter than he is.

When Jesus came to the pool, He asked him, “Would you like to get well?” This question required a Yes/No answer but the man was so consumed by his story that his answer was neither a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ but “I can’t”. He proceeded to tell Jesus why it was not possible for him to get well. Jesus then tells the man, “Stand up, roll your sleeping mat and go on home!” (John 5:8) This time, the man realised that his story was about to change.

He was immediately healed, he rolled up his mat and started walking! The second man was a blind man. His name was Blind Bartimaeus. His story was that he was positioned at the Jericho roadside begging. He must have heard the story of Jesus because as soon as heard that Jesus was passing by, he began to shout at the top of his voice, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47) He made such a nuisance to the point where people around yelled at him to shut up. This only only made him shout louder until Jesus heard him and asked those around to tell him to come to Him.

As soon as Bartimaeus was told Jesus was calling him, he realised his story was about to change. He yanked off his old coat and flung it aside - effectively saying goodbye to a life of begging. Jesus asked him one question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus wasted no time on telling stories of the past; he knew he was walking into a new story. He went straight to the point, “O Teacher, I want to see!” (Mark 10:51) Jesus responded to him, “Alright, it is done, Your faith has healed you”

What story have you been holding on to that keeps you from moving into the new one that is being written for you? Are you like blind Bartimaeus, eager and ready to start a new story or are you like the man by the pool of Siloam who couldn’t see any way forward because of the limitations of the past?

It is time for you to fling that old coat away. It is time for you to take a step of faith and start a new story. So you have applied for a job 100 times; apply again. You only need one application for your story to change.

You have been failing the same examinations over and over again and that has been your story. Put the failure behind you and step into your new success story. Don’t you dare give up! There are people waiting to hear your story so that they can be encouraged.

Don’t let your past story limit you. There is a story ahead that will change everything and this will not only affect your life - it will affect the lives of those who will hear your story.

Remember that.