Before the healing

I’m worn out. Sick. Tired. My heart races and mind is frustrated with the events swirling to no foreseeable end. How am I supposed to know which way to turn? Truth is clouded, and I am stuck. The space between us is magnified, leaving emptiness in its wake.

This is the reality for 10 people, as their sufferings and desperation unfolds for us in Luke 17.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:11-13

Ten men with leprosy stand outside, separated, tremendously suffering. As Jesus enters the village, those men stand at a distance and begin crying out — Jesus, have mercy on us!

Jesus had come to the village for a specific purpose. But God had also brought together events, even painful circumstances, for each of these 10 men to be standing there, ready to call out for mercy to the Only One who could give it.

Jesus, have mercy on me. Jesus, have mercy on us!

He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:14‬a

Jesus looks at them. He acknowledges each one, as valuable, and worth His time and His healing power. However, in that moment, He doesn’t heal them. He gives them a command that doesn’t make sense or that gives resolution.

“Go and show yourselves to the priests.”

The reason a leper would go to the priest is to receive acknowledgment and proclamation of healing. But, these 10 men aren’t healed. By law they aren’t allowed to be anywhere near those who are clean and whole. How can they present themselves for examination by the priest if their bodies are still in decay? And yet, this man they call Master, answers their cry for mercy with this command – Go.

God calls us to step forward in faith and walk as though we are healed before we are actually healed.

As Jesus speaks, He is assuring these 10 of their healing and asking them to believe Him by doing what He says. God’s promise is true before it is fulfilled.

And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:14‬b

As they go, they are healed. They receive the miracle God’s mercy has extended through the word of Jesus.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:15-16‬

All 10 lepers are healed. All of them realize they were healed. One of them comes back. The other nine continue on to the priests for the official statement of their healing. One returns to The One who had healed him.

This time, though, the former leper doesn’t stand at a distance and call out to the One who had given him mercy. He rushes to Jesus and falls at His feet.

God’s healing isn’t only about curing our sickness – it’s about eliminating the space between us and Him.

God wants us as close to Him as possible, and He will do whatever is necessary to draw us near.

How then how should we live, how do we approach a world of anxiety, chaos, lies and separation?

Call out to Jesus! Ask Him for mercy, for direction, for how to even find the path forward. 

  • God, where are You commanding us to live in Your promise before it is fulfilled – before we can see it?
  • Where are You asking us to believe You?
  • Would you teach us how to gear all of our energy, thoughts and actions through that belief?

Jesus, show us how to step forward healed, even before we actually are.

When it rains

We jumped into the car after church determined to make the trek to Silver Dollar City to see the Christmas lights. It was the last day of the season for the holiday festivities. The skies were overcast and gloomy, but our trusty weather app said the rains wouldn’t start until later in the night.

We sailed through the three-hour drive, with virtually no traffic, and were thrilled that the park wasn’t full. That meant quick lines and more fun!

Then, I felt it. A drop. Next, a drizzle, just a sputtering from the sky. We had just gotten a funnel cake sampler, so we found the last table under a canopy and began to eat. The rains came, and began to soak our winter coats. Matt had thought to bring our big rainbow umbrella, and so we huddled close together and began to walk slowly underneath to the next show so we could get in from the rain.

Under the rainbow umbrella canopy trying to stay dry

Apparently many, many others had the same idea. The theater was packed full of wet people looking for respite.

The lights went down. An angel appeared. He recounted meeting Mary and how she and her betrothed traveled to Bethlehem. There, she gave birth to a son, God’s Son. And the world was changed. The skies opened up in praise, shepherds went to find the baby, wisemen followed a star to worship the tiny king. The Gospel was shared.

It wasn’t rain that wet my cheeks inside the theater. It was the realization that God made it rain that day so this crowd could know the truth about Jesus.

The downpour lessened once the show was finished, and we enjoyed our time at the park and all its lights.

We love the Christmas lights at Silver Dollar City!

Rain will often change our plans, our moods, and our perspectives. Sometimes our lives are pummeled by storms and soaked in sorrowful tears. Rain can bring beautiful growth and refreshment, as well as hesitation and even peril.

When the hard rains come, and they will come, I want to remember these three things I realized dodging the drops at SDC.

  1. Rain can bring us closer to those we love. Instead of scattering, when we were facing rain and potentially changed plans, my family huddled together underneath the dry cover of our umbrella. We used the rain as an opportunity to be together and move together.
  2. When it rains, look for the Gospel on display. God does not waste our pain or our tears. Often our struggles are a conduit for God’s message of hope and redemption. God may make it rain specifically to redirect or prepare the heart fields to receive His One and Only Son.
  3. The rain will end. There is always a start and an end to the rain, and to the storms in life. Believe that, and hold onto that. The rain may last so much longer than forecasted or come unexpectedly, but it will not last. The clouds will roll back to reveal the sun that was always there.