The Abandoned Assignment
by Bev Dracos
I was deep in prayer, following my time in God’s word. I was in Luke 17 and read the story of the ten lepers who were cleansed and healed from afar by our compassionate Lord. Verses 14-16 lingered in my mind:
As they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned with a loud voice glorifying God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
Out of ten healed, only one expressed gratitude and gave glory to God. How could that be? I began to praise God for the incredible healing of my spine. I walked through the numerous surgeries thanking Him for each one, for the surgeons who performed them, for the “only God” moments involved in each circumstance, for all who prayed, for all who cared and helped. I was feeling pretty good (maybe even a bit smug) about being a grateful one.
And then, a spirit of conviction came over me. What, Lord? I am so grateful, and I give you all the glory. The conviction grew heavier. I bowed my head further and placed my hands on my knees. Oh, yes, Lord. Thank you for the healing of my knees. I am so grateful to be able to walk without pain, and I give you all the glory. The conviction did not lift.
It came back to me in an instant. The memory was so very clear. Several years ago, I had been in prayer and felt guided by the Holy Spirit to commit to prayer walking the church each Sunday before the early service. There were times when I could not walk. Still, whenever I was able, I walked around the church twice praying for the Pastors and staff, the Bible Study teachers, the nursery workers, for every person that walks through the doors, for the Deacons and their wives and their families…praying for protection, for boldness, for the church to be a beacon of hope and a fountain of love, mercy, and grace to the community.
But after full recovery from the second knee surgery, I did not return to my assignment. My tears began to fall. I had no explanation, no reason, no excuse. I simply stopped doing what I had been called to do.
I often speak about the joy and power of prayer. It is life-giving. It is life-changing. Part of the power of prayer is in that deep level of communication; the Holy Spirit has the freedom to not only prompt and guide but to convict. I don’t often speak about the conviction that comes through prayer because it is pretty painful to reflect on. In moments of conviction, repentance follows. And then there is the sweet, sweet mercy and grace of God’s promise to forgive. I am free to stand up, pick up my cross, and follow again.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions
to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
If you arrive early, you will see me walking around the church. Any Sunday that I am able, I will be there. You might also see me carrying a red umbrella…but that is a story for another day.
Let’s talk about it:
- How can it be that only one out of ten that were healed came back to express gratitude?
- How often do we fail to express gratitude for all that God has done in our lives?
- When a spirit of conviction comes, are we grateful for the correction that leads to repentance and a restoration of the relationship?