by: Paul Gay
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?
It was a beautiful day. I was sitting outside admiring the bright blue sky while watching my children play. “Thank you, God” I whispered. “Help me to never take these simple joys for granted.” Fast forward a few months later and I recognized some ugliness coming from inside me. I was in a waiting season and it seemed like my prayers had not been answered while everyone around me was getting a breakthrough. In my heart I felt discontented and ungrateful. Like a spoiled child, I wondered when “my turn” would come and felt as if God was withholding from me. When I recognized the bitterness creeping in, I prayed and asked God to forgive me and search my heart. If God never again blessed me, my life has been blessed beyond measure. I began going down a list in my mind of the most recent blessings in my life and started giving God thanks for the many ways He has graced my life. Sometimes God gives us delays in the things we ask of Him. That doesn’t necessarily mean those delays are denials. If they are denials, I can tell you from my own experience, God has shielded me and protected me from the things I thought were for my own good. He always knows best. In the midst of this condition of my heart, my mind traveled back to the story of the ten lepers that Jesus healed.
For context, a leprosy diagnosis in Biblical times not only meant that you were not well, but it also gave you the classification of “unclean.” Not only was the disease easily transmittable, but often it left its victims with deformities of the ears, nose, and disfigurement of skin and bone among many other things. It was all around unpleasant to say the least. Jesus was traveling to Samaria. Ten men with leprosy met him on his way and cried out, “Jesus, Master, Have pity on us!” (Luke 17) The Bible tells us that in his mercy and lovingkindness, Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priest and they would be cleansed. As they went, they were indeed cleansed. (The priests had the authority to declare a leper clean in Jewish society at the time. This is why Jesus instructed them to show themselves to the priests.). However, here is where things get interesting. Only one leper returned to thank Jesus. Jesus then asks the man, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” Wow. Talk about eye-opening and gut wrenching. How many times have I failed to give God praise? Yikes. Not a good feeling!
This is what I love about Jesus though (among so many other things): He knew that not all ten would return to thank Him, and He healed them anyway. Friend, God is not a respecter of persons. He will save all who come to Him. Time and time again in the Bible we can find where God took ordinary men and women and did a miraculous work in their life. He can do that for you, too. Maybe you are like I was at one time. Maybe you are currently in a waiting season. God has not forgotten you. Let’s use the waiting times to thank Him and allow Him to grow our character. No season is wasted if we learn something from it and God doesn’t waste our pain--ever. As we dive deeper into His Word, we can see that He can be trusted. Begin to thank Him today for your breakthrough and trust Him with the process. He cares for you. And, when that breakthrough comes, be like that one person out of ten. Return and give God praise.