I am realizing the amount of ungratitude I have that seals up my heart, dark metal gates that lock around it.
Recall a familiar Sunday school story:
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
I am one of the ten.
I am one of the men.
I am one of the lepers.
am I the one that came back?
I am realizing: no.
This number has great significance for me: next month, it will be the 10 year anniversary of me finding out that I had (have?) cancer the first time. Each man here can be seen as representative of one year for me. Each year is a year of health, of battle, of scans, of visits, of tests. Yet, these men knew greater suffering than I did.
God transformed and renewed their health, each one of them.
God transformed each man’s life.
God has transformed each year of my life.
Year 1: the beginning of this cancer journey, strike 1.
Year 2: the miracle year, though I didn’t even know it at the time. 25% chance of survival, and I’m still here—mircale year
Year 3: sophomore, the transformative year. the year He led me to Xenos Christian Fellowship, the year I began to learn what it meant to truly invest in a personal relationship with God.
Year 4: my favorite year of high school
Year 5: the year I learned what drifting from the Lord looked like
Year 6: the year I learned what drifing back to the Lord looked like
Year 7: relapse, strike 2.
Year 8: trying to figure out more of who I am, what do I do, whose am I
Year 9: the last year of my schooling, the Lord revealing deeper depression and raising me back to him.
Year 10, the now: relapse, strike 3.
But in which year did I show gratitude? Be it this last year, the last man, the unlikely one who no one thought would come back: the Samartian? Am I really that way? That after two times the Lord saving me I would have been grateful, understood gratitude by now!
Why does my hand desperately clutch onto the knife of ingratitude toward God, stabbing Him with questions of Why do you allow this happen to me not once, twice but three times? When is my life going to be my life that I planned, hoped, wanted? When can I take over?—my questions, knife-sharp, I sometimes don’t want to ask or am afraid to ask because I think it will hurt God, but really when I look down at my hand, there is no handle to these knife-thoughts and its cutting into me, hurting me not Him. The deeper the ingratitude, the deeper the cut, the pain.
God desperately wants me to pick up the spoon that I once held. Its now on the floor, tossed far away in fury, out of my vision. But in my peripheral, I see it. A smooth spoon. It’s empty, harmless. Who would want to be armed with a mere spoon? Yet this is the ultensil God wants me to trade in my hand, from knife to spoon. Spoons require something to be placed inside their crevice; they are lacking and desire to be filled. God likes when I hold spoons in front of Him because He can fill them up with good things. (And oh, how I am so needy I am realizing.) And receiving things promotes and results in thanks, gratitude. Smooth spoon of blessings.
Help me to unclutch the knife-thoughts and replace it it with smooth-spoon-of-blessings. Fill up my spoon. While you are at it, fill up my cup. Fill me up with grace, with warm, warm blood but not mine left from the knife-thoughts but yours.
25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Fill my cup up with grace, with rememberance, with gratitude.
Make me well, make me whole like my fellow Samaritan.
We take in, we receive, we are revived, we remember.
This is grace-gratitude.