By Dot Bowen
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Luke 5:12 (NIV)
My granddaughter Ashley is 16 years old and has been struggling with a medical condition the doctors cannot diagnose. For over a year, they’ve only been able to tell us what she doesn’t have. Following a great conversation I had with her about what she is learning through these difficult days, she sent me an amazing note. Perhaps you are facing uncertainty in your life or know someone who feels hopeless. If so, I pray you will find comfort from a young girl who faces uncertainty each day. And she never complains.
Below are her unedited and raw feelings. It doesn’t matter whether we are 16 or 106, we do not have control of our lives. My prayer in sharing Ashley’s journal entry is to encourage all of us to keep our eyes on Jesus who has a plan for our lives.
Sometimes in life you can feel absolutely invincible. You are in a beautiful season of bliss and happiness. In these times it is very important to remember who is giving you these blessings and who is making your life seem like a fairytale. When you walk through the seemingly “easier” times in your life are you remembering to dig into the Lord’s word? Are you remembering to thank him for every piece of your day? Are you growing in that relationship so that when things may not be so picturesque you are in a place where you can lean into God?
Luke 5 is a very powerful story of a man giving his all and completely abandoning himself to Jesus asking for healing of leprosy. The leper says to Jesus in verse 13 “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Notice, the leper did not demand to be cleansed of his disease, but he was willing to submit to the authority and the plan that the Lord had for him. He was saying that if him being healed was in the Lord’s plan let it be, but He wanted to respect what the Lord had planned for him. So many of us are in a relationship with God of constantly wanting to receive, receive, receive, but you are not willing to put any work into the relationship. You don’t realize it when you are in your “happy seasons”, but when you enter into trials you feel lonely because you feel like God isn’t giving you what you want. You have this idea that you know exactly what you need. You think that you are superior and God is only a figure who you pray to in hope that he can fix your situation the way YOU want it to be fixed and in the timing YOU want it to be done in. Completely surrendering in a time of hardship is much easier said than done, but I have something that may help you get started with being in a genuine relationship with the Lord. At the end of chapter 5 a verse that could be easily read over is one of great power. Luke 5:16 “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” A relationship cannot be one-sided. One person in the relationship cannot do all the giving, talking, or sharing. That would be completely and utterly exhausting and toxic. Everyone knows that to be in a relationship with someone you have to communicate and have conversation. So why would this be any different with God? Prayer is meant to be an intimate time that you share with your creator, the one who loves and cares for you. Prayer is powerful and can, in many ways, bring you closer to the Lord. Finally, let’s think about this one thing. Jesus, who is 100% human and 100% God, felt it was important to talk to God and seek for wisdom. What makes you think that prayer, from a human who sins regularly and who has essentially nothing figured out, should not be a priority? Jesus was setting an example for us, you need to be in constant prayer. The Lord genuinely wants to hear about your day. He wants to know the ups and the downs of your life and when you build this relationship with the power of prayer, it will make the trial easier because you know you have someone you can truly count on. The key is building up the relationship when times are seemingly easy, so that when times get tough you can stand firm in your faith and the cornerstone relationship you have with Jesus Christ. ASHLEY
- Read Luke 22:39-46 and reflect on Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane.
- Consider this tough question: What if God chooses not to heal you—or someone you love—to make things better?
- I have no idea what God’s will for your life is nor am I saying Jesus won’t change your circumstances. However, I’ve personally found freedom when I get to the place I can say, “I want You more than I want things to change.”
- Are you willing to say, “Not my will, but Your will?”