Recently a tech-savvy friend* blurted out her frustration over an equipment glitch. Overhearing the outburst, I calmly suggested that maybe an alternative might/perhaps/perchance/conceivably be tried. Note my caution indicated by those underlined words, a caution expressed because this friend is not known to be patient with non-tech savvy people such as myself.
Although my suggestion was first met with mentally rolled eyes, almost immediately the process was successful and I walked to another room. As I sat ready to open a “spiritual” book, that squiggly imp called Self whispered: “Once again you didn’t get thanked,” and for a comfortable few minutes I basked on the shores of self-pity. But the imp’s voice was soon countered by another message: “This happened to Me too. Remember those cleansed ten lepers? Only one stopped to say thank you. And oh, yes, let’s talk about what happened recently… ”
Yesterday as I hurriedly ran several errands, I misplaced the silver chain I was taking to the jeweler for repair. Retracing my steps and activities, I remembered having the chain in my hand when unlocking the car. Did it fall after I placed it on the passenger seat? I scoured the car and trunk floors, emptied jacket and pants pockets, fumbled through purse pockets (no new purses with more than two compartments). The chain was nowhere to be found. I’m unsure of the chain and its pendant’s monetary value, but it was one of my mother’s few prized pieces of jewelry, and I’d put off the repair too long.
I honestly was too busy yesterday to worry overmuch about the possible loss…I would look later…but it nagged “at the edge.” And this morning upon awakening—and after coffee—the missing chain was one of my first coherent thoughts. Later as I walked around the rear of my car, THERE ON THE GROUND WAS THE CHAIN! After a moment of self-congratulation—”I knew it was somewhere!”—I went on about my day. Never once intentionally thanking God. I’d like to think I had a grateful heart, but I honestly don’t recall actual words of gratitude.
Just like the nine lepers.
I’ve spent this past Holy Week digging deep into the experiences of Jesus during His last week before the cross. Was I in the palm-waving crowd? Did I offer Him food and rest in my Bethany home? Did I flee the blood-soaked cross or remain weeping with the other women?
Yesterday, Good Friday, I meditated on the horrific scene of his beating, head whipping from side to side, blood dripping from the gashes in His cheeks. Unbidden the words of the prophet Isaiah came to the fore: “it is by his wounds that we are healed.”
Sometimes it’s hard for those of us who “accepted Jesus” as children to truly understand the depth of our sin. Perhaps we’ve never substantially rebelled or participated in gross sin. From what deadly disease have we been “healed”? Doctors say that certain diseases—when symptoms are ignored or disregarded—can “sneak up on you.” Persistent fatigue or shortness of breath may indicate heart or kidney problems. Frequent thirst and slow-to-heal wounds may be red flags for diabetes. Left too long without attention these symptoms can become deadly.
My ingratitude—though unintentional—is a directional signal: pay attention to how pride’s talons can easily grip my soul. Watch out for actions and attitudes (symptoms)—even unintended—that lead more to death than life. I’m convicted about how long it’s been since daily beginning my prayer time with confession. Some might want to “ad lib” confession but I find a prayer offered through the centuries to fit me, changing only the pronouns from the plural to the singular, adding silence for the Spirit to speak personally:
Merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed. I have not loved you with my whole heart and mind and strength; I have not loved my neighbors as myself. In your mercy, forgive what I have been, help me amend what I am, and direct what I shall be, so that I may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Now speak your word to me, Holy Spirit… Amen.
It seems a long and undulating way from tech issues to jewelry chains to my sin and the cross but here I sit. Between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
*Unidentified to remain in a good relationship.😏