A new year aways brings me to a time of reflection. As of today, I officially enter the seventh decade of my life… and that, in and of itself, is pretty awesome!
I confess, though I have been a Christ follower for many years, I had never read the Bible through from cover to cover until last year. And if I’m honest, there were times I just wanted to give up; Ezekiel was particularly rough; but by the grace of God I persevered!
While I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, I do try to evaluate and develop lifestyle changes and habits that will be beneficial to my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Reading the Bible through every year that I have left is one of those disciplines I need.
But as I read through large passages of Scripture, there are certain portions that speak to me in new and different ways. The larger passages give me an overview, but I have to “digest” smaller portions within the passage as I go throughout the day.
Today, as I read the first chapter in the gospel of Mark, I reflected upon these words, “And a leper came to Him, imploring Him, and kneeling said to Him, ‘If You will, You can make me clean.’ (Jesus) Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” (Mark 1:40-42)
A leper, he was an outcast in the society of that day. He obviously knew something about Jesus. He knew enough to realize that Jesus had the power to do something about his leprosy. He knew he was subservient to Jesus; and as a result, he kneeled before Him. He must have known that Jesus would not look at him with disdain, because he begged Jesus to make him clean. But the words that really riveted my attention were, “If You will, You can make me clean.” While these words are not in Scripture, this statement also implies, “If You will, You can make me clean, but You may not.”
I don’t know this man’s heart, but in the narrative, one does not get the idea that had Jesus not chosen to heal the leper, that he would have been angry at Jesus. He made no demands on Jesus. Oh, I am sure he wanted to be healed, but somehow it seems to me that he was leaving that decision in Jesus’ very capable hands.
There have been times in my life when I have not responded as the leper. I knew of Jesus’ power, and was both incredulous and angry that He did not respond to my request in the way I thought best.
I don’t know why God chose to heal the leper and not heal our sons; but this I do know. God is good, He is loving, He is compassionate, and He sees the whole picture; I cannot. Whatever He does or does not do is for His glory and my ultimate good. The words of Amy Baik Lee express my thoughts so well. She writes, “The greatest good I can imagine in a given situation may not be the greatest good possible.” Whatever God does or does not do will always be for the greatest good.
As 2020 closes with all of the chaos brought about by the global pandemic, accompanied by the tragic loss of life, the loss of livlihoods, racial discord, and political turmoil, God is still on the His throne; His kingdom will prevail. And He will always act or not act in a way that is consistent with both His and our greatest good.