Friday, February 19, 2016
As I walked with the other nine souls who were also unclean, a cohort of sinners, we could only keep company with one another. Our shame made us outcasts, hidden, not able to be touched by anyone, lest our "sin" be transferred to another. We covered ourselves so no one could see, but they knew . . . because you can't really hide that kind of stink. Alone, even among the other nine, I was isolated from life and love and relationship, desperate, dying from the outside in AND from the inside out. No hope, just going through the motions till the end, looking forward to whenever that blissful moment of release might arrive.
Then I saw Him, from a distance only, but He embodied hope. He'd healed others, could He possibly heal me? I called to Him, humbled myself, telling Him who I was, a sinner, and begged for His mercy to cleanse me, to make me whole again. Mercy...mercy...undeserved but so desired.
He called out, "Go, show yourself to the priest" as if I were already clean! I looked at my skin expecting it to be clear. How disappointed I felt when I saw the white spots were still there. But His voice was so powerful, so joyful, so hopeful, so compelling that I started to walk toward the temple as if I were already clean. His words had birthed something in me. Love, love born from hope, from an encounter with this Jesus, the Master some called Him. I sensed that just being in His presence was healing and so I went toward the temple, walked toward my healing, believing, believing in Him, believing He is the Messiah, believing He can heal and He intended to heal me... or why else would He send me to the priest to be declared clean?
As I took those first few believing steps, I noticed a change, first inside. The hopelessness was gone, replaced by a magnanimous love that filled my being to overflowing. He was on the inside, making me whole! Then I turned my gaze to my "outside" and miracle of miracles, it was changed as well! I was clean, whole, new, inside and out! My joy was indescribable!!! I turned and ran, ran to Jesus and fell at His feet and kissed them with my lips and my tears. He received my gratitude, it could not be contained. His words pierced my heart, "Your faith has healed you." My inner belief in Him and who He is, God, brought about a new heart and a new life. I will never be the same again, the old has gone, the new has come.
Shameful, undeserving, hopeless
Lord, have mercy on me
As I entered fully into the story as if I were that leper, I learned how important gratitude is. Focusing on where I've come from, that I was that leper makes me incredibly grateful for God's love, healing, forgiveness and makes me love Jesus more.
As I read Luke 17: 11-19, I saw myself as that leper with all my sin hanging off of me, stinking and ugly. I had no hope of ever escaping it. Shame and disgust were my constant companions and kept me isolated and hiding. I felt so "unclean." I wouldn't even really allow myself to come close to Jesus with this sin, even though I knew Him. But from afar, He called to me and told me to "go to the priest" to admit my sinfulness and receive the cleansing I so desperately needed. As I shared my shame with the one in charge, God began His healing process on my wounded and sinful heart. He met me in my healing prayer time with Him in such a powerful yet intimate way, I was never the same again. My heart was so grateful, I ran to Him! I thanked Him and it is my gratitude and love for Him that makes me different than the other nine that were glad for their healing but did not connect it in a personal way to Jesus. My love has grown because I saw this as an intimate, loving, personal touch from Him and I wanted more of this Jesus and I still do. I can't get enough of you Jesus!
And I am so pleased My Delight. Your falling at My feet in love, devotion, thankfulness fills Me with joy. You are always welcome in My arms. Come to Me, learn from journeying with Me. As you allow Me to travel the highway of your heart, I will continue to heal you and make you Shalom whole.
My shame hung tight, putrid -
An encounter with Jesus . . .
Healed, whole, grateful, loved