Too bad those days are over, Jack remarked to me, after remembering how Betty used to crawl.One thing is for certain: it is not too bad the sick days are coming to a close. This week, all I felt like I did was put straws of liquid into my children’s mouths and wash soiled laundry. But that meant no one died of dehydration (which happens every day around the world) and no one had to sleep in their own waste (which also happens every day around the world). What a privilege to give my children that gift.
Now, unfortunately, Matthew is plagued by the B-U-G and has had seventeen hours of sleep today so far.
Even though I experienced only 5 days of quarantine, I got a real taste of separation. Away from society, fun, and spontaneity, I felt really cut off from life.
It reminded me of a story. Every day, we sing a little song with Betty called “Ten Men”. It tells the story of ten lepers whom Jesus healed. They all got excited, and they all ran away! [we dance our hands around and then hide them behind our back] Except for one man… [we hold up our pointer finger] HE came back and said, “Thank you, thank you, Jesus.” I felt a teeny tiny bit like those lepers may have felt. Blocked from society, unclean, everyone keeping their distance. It’s rough! I can’t imagine what it must have been like for years and years to be in such isolated loneliness.
It’s so interesting that Jesus heals all ten, even though only one was grateful to Him about it. I would guess they felt grateful, but they didn’t glorify God or even thank Him for healing them. We’re like that a lot. The percentage of things we thank God for probably equals the ten percent of lepers that thanked Him for their healing. Every day He does miracles and wonders without any thanks from us to Him.
We might not suffer from leprosy of the skin, but we all suffer from what God calls leprosy of the heart. Another word for it is sin. It’s incurable without His touch. It separates us from God’s love, God’s forgiveness, and His abundant life. It’s lonely business being sick. Yet we’re fooled into thinking that the loneliness we feel deep inside our gut is a lack of something we can do to fill. A lie is whispered into every heart that beats: This [fill in the blank] will satisfy your loneliness. But we don’t realize the very One we’re separated from, is the One for whom we’re longing. We’re bombarded with noise and temporary satisfaction every single day. It’s so loud, we can’t hear the feet of Jesus walking past us, waiting for us to cry out to Him. See, He made Himself available to those men… He came and preached peace to you who were far off. They were distant, knew their condition, and cried out for mercy. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
It wasn’t anything they did. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. When the one leper turned around, he fell on his face before Jesus and thanked Him.
That’s all it takes to go from being a leper to being whole. From loneliness to complete satisfaction. From sinner to saint. From eternal death to eternal life. One thing is for certain: when we finally see Jesus face to face, we will never say about our time here on earth: Too bad those days are over.
[Bible excerpts are found in Ephesians chapter 2]