Do you quickly forget the goodness of God once emotions change or feelings fail? When prayers are answered, do you move on self righteously thinking that you had something to do with it or do you sit at the feet of Jesus soaking up His faithfulness? Is your day full of resentment or fear because your circumstances seem too big for a King or do you trust in the Word of God?
In Luke 17, Jesus is walking a dusty route when He was met by ten lepers. What happens next pricks my heart of conviction:
And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’s feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? And he said to him, “Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19
Listen, I don’t know about you but I’m so thankful that I’ve never had leprosy. Do you realize that leprosy was a scarlet letter in those days that meant loneliness and dirtiness? Lepers were contagious and had to stay away from everyone and if someone came in sight, they had to announce their disease filled presence. Horrific. But the good news? They spotted their Savior when they saw him coming that day. They called out for His mercy and Jesus graciously cleansed them in their faith and obedience as they made their way to the priests to be declared clean. Isn’t God good? The gift of cleansing was given. Forever changed.
But now get this, can you believe that out of these ten dirty, ashamed, sick lepers, only one understood the magnitude of what had just been done? Only one stopped dead in his tracks to turn back and face plant at the feet of Jesus in thankfulness. They were all healed and yet only one truly understood. Not only had this man been afflicted with leprosy but he was also a Samaritan, a despised race. Even still, he knew his Savior and he knew the gift that he had just received, even if no one else thought he deserved it.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Come on Melissa, if I were healed of leprosy, I would definitely turn around to worship instead of moving on, geez.” Or would you? Would I? I would like to proclaim that truth but unfortunately, fear and worry are my bent. Forgetfulness and distraction steal my joy. Pain and heartache confuse my thoughts. Selfishness is easier than selflessness. And the result? Not turning back to sit at the feet of Jesus. Complaining instead of worshiping. Worrying instead of trusting. Moving on instead of remembering. Doubting instead of faith. That is my bent.
Lord help me to never forget who you are and what has been gifted. The change that has been made. The healing that has been provided. The forgiveness through your shed blood. Your goodness. Your unfailing love. Help me to always remember that no matter how hard life may be, you’ve already done enough. You have saved my life. Salvation outweighs all the trouble.
I don’t know where you are this evening but for me, repentance is necessary. Much has been forgiven. Much has been gifted. And yet, a quick pace to the next hurdle or desire or excuse trumps my worship. Let us slow down and stop dead in our tracks. Regardless of our emotions and feelings or circumstances, God help us to never miss the opportunity to sing His praise and sit at His feet in thankfulness. This is the way of life. This is the way to never forget just who God is. If we would just soak and marinate in worship, life would be different. Life would be peaceful. We would be the leper that turned around.
Only in the act of praise and worship can a person learn to believe in the goodness and greatness of God. ~ C.S. Lewis