Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent
2 Kgs 5:1-15
But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, ‘”Bathe and you will become clean.”‘
Lent is a time for healing; and don’t we all need some healing in our lives? Maybe not physically for some, but emotionally, spiritually? We are all imperfect, broken in some way, maybe we feel useless and discarded, like a broken toy destined for the rubbish dump. And yet, God still loves us, imperfections, and all. He wants to heal us, to make us whole again. But sometimes, in our anger and resentment, our bitterness and despair, we question, “Where is that healing? Why am I not healed? Why is it taking so long?”
I, too, have been there before. I was miserable for what seemed like days and months, and I was tired of trying to put up a brave face every day to face the world. I was angry — had God abandoned me? Then I realised that my attitude was hardly one that deserved healing. It was all about me — I was looking inwards. I kept shining the spotlight on myself, my problems, how unfair it was to me, and constantly in a “look how hard I’m trying to survive” mode. Me, me, me. It’s not that I forgot about everyone else, but I did forget about Jesus.
My problems were painful but not insurmountable. It wasn’t the end of the world, even if it did feel like that to me. It was actually a new beginning. If only I had looked up sooner from my own wounded pride to see it. What was scary was my stubbornness in refusing to let go of the hurt, as though letting it go meant that I was giving in or letting ‘the other side’ win. The hurt was like a ‘comforting companion’, as though it made things real, the one ‘real’ feeling in the world. I can’t explain it — and it is such a perverse way of thinking — but it is true. I wanted to get better, yet I didn’t want to let go of this ‘real’ thing because I didn’t know what the healing would look like, and whether it would disappoint me if I went looking for it. Quite like not wanting to lose sight of the shore, but you end up not sailing anywhere. So, in my obstinance, I clung on, clung on to this ‘familiar’ feeling, even though it hurt. Until it became so hard to bear that I approached God, broken and fragile, and said, “I can’t do this anymore, not by myself.” That was when I let go of my stubbornness and my pride and laid it down at Jesus’ feet.
I felt myself being emptied of everything that had been draining me for the past few months. I wasn’t refilled instantly though. I had to also empty myself of my expectations of what God could do to heal me. And I think that is the other part of the problem when we resist healing. Pride and stubbornness, and expectation. These act as barriers to our faith and belief, the fundamentals for our healing. Naaman suffered from all of this, as do we. We have to let God do as He sees fit, heal us as He knows how, for what is right for us. Once I understood that, I was able to accept the healing that God had for me, which had been there all along.
Jesus suffered so much more for each of us so that we could live. What I had endured was only a tiny fraction of what He has done for me. The season of Lent helps us examine ourselves and be aware of this so that we can move the spotlight away from ourselves and onto Jesus. Lent is a time for healing so that we can become one with God again. Let us not, in our pride and obstinance, reject that healing, lest it may be given to someone else. If we believe and hold on to our faith, no matter how fragile it may seem at that moment, Jesus will heal us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, we lay our pride, stubbornness and expectations at Your feet, this day and every day. And we come to You broken and imperfect, but still holding on to our faith that You will embrace us within Your loving arms, and heal us.
Thanksgiving: Lord, we may never fully understand the extent of the sacrifice that You have been through for us so that we may live; but we will forever be grateful for Your love for us, even when we are undeserving of it.