As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17: 12-19
The blogger’s post was timely. She wrote about how we feel when we’ve worked hard, pouring ourselves into a thankless job that never gets recognized. I had had that experience numerous times, and yes, it’s disappointing. But I’ve learned that whatever pain I may be going through, if I think about it, I realize that Jesus has gone through the same thing in one way or another. When I’m having that “unappreciated” feeling, I always remind myself that after Jesus had healed ten lepers, only one came back to thank Him, so why would I expect a better return for my efforts? At least I know I’m in good Company.
This particular day had taken things a step further. After pouring my life into someone for over a year, it wasn’t just that this person was not thanking me. That day I had been verbally attacked, called a couple of names I had never been called before, and heard the door slam on our friendship. …wow.
This experience, along with the blog’s reference to the ten lepers and the ingratitude of the nine, made me wonder: When Pilate asked the crowds what he should do with Jesus, were any of those nine lepers among those who shouted, “Crucify him!” ? Again, I reminded myself that I was in good Company.
Initially there was a moment of unexpected relief. I had started to wonder (and pray about) whether I was getting involved in a type of ministry God was not calling me to. I didn’t want to jump ship, but I also didn’t want to waste time running around doing someone else’s ministry while mine was left undone. My heart told me that God was releasing me from a job that was never His plan for me, and that was a good thing. But the memory of the insulting words threatened to take up residence in my head and cloud my view of life, even my view of myself.
I decided to just let the matter drop and make my retreat in the form of a long walk with my little dog, “Mr. Hollywood.”
It was a gorgeous spring day, and our neighborhood had burst into bloom. As I walked, I thanked God for the beautiful colors, the songs of the birds, and sweet fragrances that overwhelmed my senses.
I saw a man working in a yard where the lawn was full of the little white flowers I loved but couldn’t identify. I stopped and asked him what they were. When he replied in the most delightful dialect that he hadn’t the foggiest, I had to ask where he was from. He told me he was from London, England. As we chatted about our families and how we each ended up in Louisville, he suddenly looked past me and announced, “Here comes Tchaikovsky!”
A beautiful woman was walking toward us with a big, adorable, sad-eyed Basset hound (“Tchaikovsky”). As she stopped to say hello, I introduced myself and Mr. Hollywood and learned her name. This lovely lady was from Russia. I suddenly felt that I was at the United Nations rather than our little Southern suburb. (Yes, this really happened. I couldn’t make up this stuff.) After a brief visit with my two new friends, I headed back home, smiling at the way the Lord had been smiling on me. He knew that I loved meeting all kinds of people. One thing I love about blogging is that it allows me to connect with people all over the world, but meeting these two, face to smiling face, was the highlight of my day.
Another timely blog that same day reminded the readers to share a smile with people, even strangers, because you may be the only source of sunshine they have. It was a delight meeting the English gentleman and the Russian lady, and remembering how many nice people God has put in the world, and that these two actually liked me. I chuckled as I felt the balm of their smiles soothing my soul. I’m sure they had no idea God was using them to heal a sad heart.
On the way home I was walking with a spring in my step, and as corny as it sounds, I was stopping to smell the spring flowers and enjoy all their sweetness. As I was taking in the fragrance of a blossoming tree, a gust of wind shook the branches, showering my head with pink petals; I laughed and thanked the Lord again for being there, for loving me, and for the joy of being His child.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for all the times You healed people – of physical diseases, emotional wounds, and broken relationships. Most of all, thank You for giving Your life so we could be healed of sin and of death itself. Help us to remember these things with gratitude daily, and to pass our blessings on to others who need Your healing touch. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.